Nigel Clibbens has called on the EFL to intervene sooner with crisis clubs instead of “waiting for them to die”.

Carlisle United chief executive Clibbens was commenting at a fans’ forum about the financial woes of some clubs.

The plight of Bury was referred to, the Shakers having seen their opening league fixture suspended after the League said owner Steve Dale had not provided enough guarantees over future funding. Dale insisted this was not the case.

Bury's problems came to a head earlier this year after it emerged players and staff had not been paid.

Clibbens said their promotion from League Two last season was tantamount to “financial doping” which had damaged them and put unrealistic pressure on other clubs to try to keep up.

He said: “It's wrong on so many levels. The most damaging part is not necessarily the fact they got promoted, the real damaging part is the impact on other clubs and their day to day business.

“When a club pays more than it can afford, it leads rivals to consider ‘do we pay more to keep up?’

“It puts pressure on those who haven't got so much money. Fans see players go to those clubs [and ask] 'why can't you afford to pay what they are? We've got bigger gates…’

“It drives everybody down a certain road. It's bad for the game. They have financially doped, and won. Is the penalty enough? No. Should the League have dealt with it before they got promoted? Yes.

“At the EFL [summer meeting] in Portugal, the clubs made clear they wanted the League to sort out the rules to stop this happening.

“The League run a 'rescue culture' to keep clubs alive. If it puts clubs [who are already] under financial pressure under more pressure, is it going to do them any good? It's like bayoneting the wounded.

“In my view they need to intervene early, go into clubs and sort them out, not wait for them to die.

“I hope this situation is a catalyst to ensure it never happens again.”

Clibbens also said the problems were highlighted by the fact Bury sold tickets to travelling fans for a fixture last season “at their end, and they didn’t pay us the ticket money”.

He said it was an “unwritten rule” that many clubs don’t pay such money immediately but instead “a few weeks down the line”.

Bury owner Dale has accused the EFL of "working against" Bury's recovery after creditors approved a company voluntary agreement to help settle debts.

A winding-up petition against the Shakers over unpaid tax was dismissed by the High Court this week, but they will start the season with a 12-point deduction.

The EFL's interim chief executive Debbie Jevans told BBC Radio Manchester it "simply isn't true" that the League were standing in Bury's way.

"We are here 24 hours a day to work with [Dale] but it is up to him to provide the information that is required," she said.

Clibbens, meanwhile said United now have close to 1,900 season-ticket holders – “a little bit more than we had this time last year”.

This was in response to a fan who asked how the club could be satisfied with “1,700” season-ticket holders, referring to a recent report on the subject, when National League Hartlepool expected to have sold 3,000 season-tickets before the start of the season.

Clibbens insisted United were not “satisfied” and said: “How we get more is a combination of what happens on the field and off it.

“If we're providing good, entertaining fayre on the pitch, you get more people wanting to come. Off the pitch, if you've got a vibrant club that's close to the community, that's what we're trying to do. We know we've got a lot of work to do, but we accept the challenge.”

He also said United would look to do more initiatives like last season’s #8kforMK scheme, which he described as “a major highlight” of his time at the club and “a roaring success”.

“In the past there's been reluctance at the club to take risks - discounting prices can cost you if people don't come,” he said.

“But having done it once, it gives people confidence it can be done again.”

Clibbens also paid tribute to the hard-working and loyal staff at United, and the devoted fanbase who had stuck with the club despite a five-year stretch in the bottom division.