Wigan Athletic appeal 12-point deduction; Wigan Warriors intend to bid for football club
Joint-administrator Gerald Krasner says appeal process has begun, confirms 75 staff made redundant on Monday
Last Updated: 08/07/20 8:09am
Wigan Athletic's administrators have launched an appeal against the club's impending 12-point deduction, while rugby league side Wigan Warriors have announced their intention to bid for the stricken football club.
The Sky Bet Championship club entered administration on Wednesday and are set to be handed a 12-point penalty by the EFL once the season has been completed.
Wigan supporters have urged the EFL to suspend the points deduction until the events leading up to the club entering administration have been investigated further, and joint-administrator Gerald Krasner has confirmed an appeal process has already begun.
"I can tell you all that the initial appeal has already been made by our solicitors and we have until Friday this week to put in a substantive defence as to why the 12 points should not be deducted," Krasner said at a press conference on Tuesday.
"That will be done on time. It will cost the club/the administrators costs they have to be incurred.
"I'm not giving any guarantees that the penalty won't be imposed by the Football League in accordance with their regulations.
"But we are taking all steps possible to either avoid it or at least minimise it."
Krasner says Wigan face the possibility of a further 15-point deduction next season which could hamper efforts to sell the club.
He added: "You should also be aware that there is a second potential points deduction if creditors are not paid 25p in the pound under what's known as a CVA, which is a Company Voluntary Arrangement, or informally it can be done by the administrators.
"That is going to cost quite a bit of money and the penalty can be 15 points next season.
"Leeds had that penalty imposed a number of years ago when they were in administration. Once again, I am giving no guarantees but we are working on a strategy how to deal with this problem if we have a successful sale.
"I want to see the club going forward without any points deduction next season if at all possible."
'We bought Wigan with best intentions'
A statement from Wigan owner Au Yeung's UK lawyers said the Next Leader Fund had bought the club with "the best intentions" but the coronavirus pandemic had "fundamentally undermined" its ability to fund it.
Next Leader Fund LP completed a formal takeover of the club at the beginning of last month.
"Wigan Athletic is a wonderful football club with rich history and a passionate fan base," the statement read.
"We bought Wigan Athletic with the best intentions: to create a team that would get the club back into the Premier League, and I have invested more than £40m.
"Unfortunately, the Covid-19 crisis has severely impacted people and businesses around the world - and Championship football clubs, which rely on fans coming through the turnstiles, are no exception.
"This has fundamentally undermined our ability to fund Wigan Athletic and, after struggling to find a solution, in the end took the difficult decision to put the club into administration to ensure its survival.
"The administrators are now doing everything they can to find a new owner who will secure the future of Wigan Athletic for the sake of the many thousands of devoted Latics fans, and the local community."
EFL 'fundamently disagrees' Covid-19 undermined funding
The EFL released a statement later on Tuesday disputing the view that the Next Leader Fund's ability to fund the club was undermined by the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The League fundamentally disagrees with the comments attributed earlier today to Mr Au Yeung Wai Kay where he stated that 'the Covid-19 pandemic has undermined the ability to fund the club'," the statement said.
"Whilst it is clear that Covid-19 has undoubtedly presented significant financial challenges to the professional game, evidence of the required source and sufficiency of funding to be invested in or otherwise made available to the club, was provided as part of the recent change of control process.
"This set of circumstances is more illustrative of the wider financial challenges facing EFL clubs, who, without a full and comprehensive reset of football's finances, including how monies are distributed throughout the game, will continue to struggle to meet the demands of an outdated and unsustainable model."
The EFL also said it is working with administrators to help ensure Wigan exits administration "at the earliest opportunity".
"Given the club's standing within the EFL and their local community there is, quite rightly, a significant strength of feeling of anger and frustration amongst all those connected to the club," the statement added.
"The EFL has engaged with the administrators and their advisors and is continuing to provide its full support in all ongoing matters, particularly how it can work through the requirements of the insolvency policy and assist the club in exiting administration at the earliest opportunity.
"In the short-term, those discussions will continue with the sale of the club, player transfers and funding required in order to complete the 2019/20 season the immediate priorities.
"In addition, we will also engage with the appropriate supporter groups, local politicians and other key stakeholders as appropriate to assist in helping achieve a long-term stable future for the club and its local community."
Wigan Warriors intend to bid for Wigan Athletic
Super League club Wigan Warriors share the DW Stadium with Wigan Athletic and have announced their intention to bid for the football club.
The Warriors say they have received support for their plans from the leader of Wigan Council, David Molyneux, and are now searching for other investors with the intention of making a bid "in due course".
Wigan Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan previously held the same role at League One play-off finalists Oxford and recently spent a term as EFL chairman, having replaced Greg Clarke in the role in 2016.
Lenagan, along with Darryl Eales and Gary Speakman, is keen to save the Sky Bet Championship side.
A statement read: "Being born and bred in Wigan, Ian Lenagan and Gary Speakman understand what both clubs mean to the local community.
"We strongly believe that Wigan Athletic is better being locally-owned.
"As sustainability and ownership of the stadium is equally important to both clubs, we are currently working with our longstanding advisers KPMG and talking to external parties.
"Our intention is to identify other investors quickly and start due diligence on the football club with the intention of making a bid in due course.
"We have made the administrators aware of our interest and hope to explore this with them further over the days ahead.
"Wigan Warriors and Wigan Athletic are both local sporting institutions and it is our belief that this is a unique opportunity here to bring the ownership of these two great clubs together under one roof, each operating independently as before, but under a Wigan Sporting Partnership banner.
"It is envisaged that each club would retain all its training grounds, management and facilities."