Bolton cancelled their League One fixture against Rovers at the University of Bolton Stadium with less than 36 hours notice, citing welfare concerns over the teenagers circumstances had forced them to field in matches at the start of the season.
The EFL passed on the disciplinary process to an independent panel which ruled in November that Bolton should face a five point penalty, suspended for 18 months, and a £70,000 fine, half of which suspended for 18 months, for failing to fulfil their fixture with Rovers plus last season’s clash with Brentford.
The EFL were unhappy with the level of the punishment, which was described as lenient, and quickly announced an appeal.
But another independent panel has upheld the decision, citing Bolton’s mitigating circumstances.
A statement issued by the EFL read: “An arbitration panel has upheld the original decision in respect of the sanctions handed to Bolton Wanderers following their guilty plea in November 2019 to charges of breaching EFL Regulations for failing to meet fixture obligations.
“The panel considered the original verdict of a sanction of five points, suspended for 18 months, and a financial penalty in light of the submitted appeal by the EFL, and concluded that the decision taken was proportionate given the mitigating circumstances the Club has faced over the extended timeframe.
“While disappointed with the verdict, the EFL respects the decision taken.
“Discussions will now continue with EFL Clubs to formalise a scale of sporting sanctions for breaches of relevant EFL Regulations, relating to non-payment of debts and non-fulfilment of fixtures, in future.”
The EFL have expressed a view from the start that Rovers’ trip to Bolton – originally set for August 20 – should be rearranged and has declared again they expect an agreement over a new date be reached as soon as possible.
Rovers - who have been vehemently against a rearrangement – are set to abide by that view and are keen to draw a line under the situation.