The Football League have given crisis-hit Notts County a three-month stay of execution.
Notts County have spent 15 months in administration
The League had threatened to expel the oldest professional football club in the world prior to a meeting of the League's board of directors in London.
The board studied the details of the latest in a series of takeover plans designed to haul the 141-year-old Meadow Lane club out of the administration it has endured since June 2002.
They had threatened to expel the club unless they were provided with evidence of significant headway.
That threat has now been suspended until 9 December, but should the Magpies fail to emerge from administration by that date they will be expelled.
Sir Brian Mawhinney, chair of the board, said: "Whilst company administration is principally a matter for the courts, it remains the League's duty to ensure insolvency procedures do not distort fair competition between clubs.
"Clubs in administration derive a competitive advantage over their rivals by virtue of being protected from their historic debt and such a situation cannot be allowed to continue indefinitely.
"Notts County FC have been in administration longer than any other club in Football League history.
"By December this will have lasted for 18 months, which should be plenty of time to reach a satisfactory solution.
"The board has now considered this issue on nine occasions and has received numerous assertions from the administrator a financial solution was imminent, including a personal assurance at the League's August board meeting.
"Despite this, the Football League has agreed to give Notts County another 13 weeks to resolve its financial difficulties, it is after all the board's business to help its clubs stay in business.
"Based on the information provided to the League by the administrator, this should be ample time to finalise arrangements.
"Should the club fail to do so its membership of the Football League will be withdrawn."
Mawhinney said the League would take steps to ensure none of its clubs would ever be allowed to spend such a long period in administration again.
In August, the board had given the Magpies four weeks' grace after the Raj Bhatia-Frank Strang takeover proposal collapsed and an alternative consortium stepped into the breach.
But the financing of that second proposal collapsed last week and a
revamped plan, dependent on the Notts County Supporters' Trust raising £250,000, was put before the board