Sun, 16 Aug 2020

Administrators have requested a meeting with the owner of Wigan, Au Yeung, to explain the circumstances that led to the current crisis at the Championship club.

Next Leader Fund, led by Hong Kong businessman Yeung, took formal control of the club on 4 June. Twenty days later Yeung's legal representatives set in motion the process to appoint administrators, which was confirmed on 1 July.

The move has wreaked sporting and financial havoc on the club. They face a 12-point penalty, which administrators confirmed on Tuesday they have appealed against.

Such a sanction would almost certainly see the club relegated to League One. Wigan are 16th in the Championship, six points above the relegation zone with five games left to play, but would drop to the bottom of the table with a 12-point deduction.

Off the pitch, administrators announced 75 redundancies had been made so far among football support staff and general support staff.

Joint administrator Gerald Krasner said he and his partners had gathered some information regarding the events which led up to administration, but now wanted to hear from Yeung.

A statement from Yeung's lawyers blamed the consequences of the coronavirus crisis for plunging the club into administration, despite taking over at the height of the pandemic.

"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," said the statement.

"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."

Krasner would not comment on whether there would be a police investigation into the circumstances around the administration process, but said it would not hinder the sale of the club.

As of Tuesday, 50 non-disclosure agreements had been sent out, and three of them had been returned with proof of funds of Pound 10 million ($12.5 million).

Wigan Warriors rugby league club owner Ian Lenagan said he was working on a bid.

Players have received 20 percent of their pay, with administrators hoping to find the remaining 80 percent via player sales.

Krasner pointed out no club had ever successfully challenged the 12-point penalty for entering administration.

The administrators met with local MP Lisa Nandy on Tuesday. The shadow Foreign Secretary has called for a full inquiry into the circumstances around the administration and has asked the EFL (English Football League) to rescind the points penalty.

EFL chairman Rick Parry was secretly recorded by a Wigan fan last week discussing rumours that the sudden administration was linked to a bet on the club to be relegated in the Philippines.

"It is only four weeks since a new ownership model was approved by the English Football League and in the last 24 hours its chairman has been filmed discussing the possibility that the crisis facing Wigan Athletic is linked to 'a bet in the Philippines on them being relegated'," Nandy said in a letter to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.

"With this, and the details of the transfer of ownership, it is starting to become clear that Wigan Athletic has been the victim of a major global scandal whose details are still emerging, with wider implications for football as a whole."

Joint administrator Paul Stanley said the official supporters' club had raised Pound 125 000 ($156,000) by Tuesday to help the club fulfil fixtures for the rest of the season.

"For the away games that will pay for the coaches, the hotels, for the home games it would pay for the doctors, the ambulances, any other requirements we need at games like stewards or the police," Stanley said.

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