The administrators at Wigan Athletic say talks with the preferred bidder for the club have broken down.
The administrators issued a statement on Friday to say the breakdown had occurred because of the preferred bidder's 'non-compliance in the first stage of exclusivity'.
This is really difficult news for staff, fans and the whole town. With the points appeal ongoing we really have been put in an impossible position. There has been lots of interest so no reason to give up hope. @LaticsOfficial is a great club and should have a secure future #wafc https://t.co/gkY064WNlP— Lisa Nandy (@lisanandy) July 24, 2020
They will move on to hold discussions with the next preferred of the interested parties, 'with a view to progressing a sale over the course of this weekend'.
Wigan were placed in administration on July 1, despite a change of ownership less than a month before.
The preferred bidder had only been announced on Wednesday, the same day the club were relegated to League One, pending the outcome of an appeal against the 12-point penalty imposed for entering administration.
Administrator Gerald Krasner said the first stage of the exclusivity process involved the preferred bidder confirming the funds to complete the purchase were being held by their lawyers, and the payment of a £100,000 bond to cover the administrators' legal costs, should the bidder withdraw.
If that stage had been completed, the next step would be an exchange of contracts on July 31.
But Friday's statement read: "The joint administrators of Wigan Athletic Football Club have announced that, regrettably, negotiations with the preferred bidder for the club broke down late last night due to the bidder's non-compliance in the first stage of exclusivity.
"The joint administrators are now in discussions with the next preferred of the five parties that made a bid to buy the club, with a view to progressing a sale over the course of this weekend.
"Until either the bidder themselves, or the Football League (EFL), elects to announce the identity of the party that is now in exclusive process to acquire the club and its assets, that will remain confidential."
Krasner had said on Wednesday the preferred bid was "the best one both for the creditors of the company and for Wigan as a football club".
Local MP Lisa Nandy tweeted: "This is really difficult news for staff, fans and the whole town.
"With the points appeal ongoing we really have been put in an impossible position. There has been lots of interest so no reason to give up hope.
"@LaticsOfficial is a great club and should have a secure future #wafc"
The appeal against the 12-point penalty will be heard on July 31.