Wigan administrators request meeting with owner of crisis club

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

Next Leader Fund, led by Hong Kong businessman Yeung, took formal control of the club on June 4. 20 days later Yeung's legal representatives set in motion the process to appoint administrators, which was confirmed on July 1.

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."

The English Football League (EFL) disputed Yeung's explanation, saying the proof of funds needed to run the club had been presented prior to the June takeover.

"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 EFL said in a statement.

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, three parties have already shown proof of funds of worth £10 million ($12.5 million) to buy with the club. 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 EFL said the penalty can be appealed if administration "resulted directly from circumstances, other than normal business risks, over which the club could not reasonably be expected to have controlled."

Local MP Lisa Nandy has called for a full inquiry into the circumstances around the administration and has asked the EFL 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.

"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," Nandy said in a letter to Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.

Joint administrator Paul Stanley said the official supporters' club had raised £125,000 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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