EFL re­jects Wi­gan owner’s rea­son for plac­ing club in ad­min­is­tra­tion

➤ Au Ye­ung cites im­pact of virus as league backs in­quiry ➤ Warriors’ bid to buy club gains sup­port from coun­cil

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Football - By James Ducker

The English Foot­ball League has ridiculed the Wi­gan Ath­letic owner’s claims that the Covid-19 cri­sis was to blame for his de­ci­sion to put the club into ad­min­is­tra­tion as it launched its own in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the con­tro­versy.

Au Ye­ung Wai Kay sug­gested yes­ter­day that the pan­demic had “fun­da­men­tally un­der­mined” his abil­ity to fund Wi­gan and that the de­ci­sion to put the Cham­pi­onship side into ad­min­is­tra­tion just four weeks af­ter buy­ing the club was taken to “en­sure its sur­vival”.

But those claims were dis­missed by the EFL, which said it “fun­da­men­tally dis­agrees with the com­ments” and that the Chi­nese busi­ness­man had pro­vided ev­i­dence that he could fund the club at the time of the takeover on May 29, which was months af­ter the out­break of the virus.

In a state­ment, the EFL said it wel­comed the move by Wi­gan’s ad­min­is­tra­tors to in­ves­ti­gate and would “un­der­take a sim­i­lar ex­er­cise” and also con­firmed The Daily

Tele­graph’s rev­e­la­tions that the cri­sis would ac­cel­er­ate re­form of the own­ers’ and di­rec­tors’ test.

“The EFL is aware of the public frus­tra­tions in re­spect to the test and ac­knowl­edges that there is a re­quire­ment for on­go­ing adap­ta­tion and im­prove­ment but, from a le­gal per­spec­tive, it can only op­er­ate within ex­ist­ing pa­ram­e­ters,” it said.

The news came on an­other ex­tra­or­di­nary day when it emerged that:

➤ Ger­ald Kras­ner, of ad­min­is­tra­tors Beg­bies Traynor, said he hoped to have an “out­line deal” with a buyer in place by the end of the month af­ter re­veal­ing three prospec­tive in­vestors had given proof of funds. ➤ Wi­gan Warriors rugby league club, who ground­share the DW Sta­dium with Ath­letic, are mak­ing a move to buy the foot­ball club in a bid backed by the lo­cal coun­cil.

➤ Wi­gan have ap­pealed against a 12-point de­duc­tion af­ter ad­min­is­tra­tion on the grounds of “force ma­jeure”, but face the threat of an ad­di­tional 15-point de­duc­tion if part of the £6mil­lion owed to cred­i­tors is not set­tled.

➤ Tot­ten­ham have had a bid for Al­fie Devine and Jensen Weir, two of Wi­gan’s ris­ing stars, re­jected.

➤ Star de­fender An­tonee Robinson and mid­fielder Joe Wil­liams will each be avail­able for just £1.5mil­lion if Wi­gan are rel­e­gated, ow­ing to re­lease clauses in their con­tracts amid a po­ten­tial fire sale of play­ers. ➤ Seventy-five staff have been made re­dun­dant and se­nior club ex­ec­u­tives have agreed to work for noth­ing only a fort­night af­ter the own­ers were sign­ing off big-money trans­fers and new con­tracts they were un­will­ing to fund.

“I want a deal done in out­line by the end of the month,” said Kras­ner, who has set a dead­line of July 21 for fi­nal of­fers. “We can­not be here un­til next sea­son. We won’t have the money.”

A Warriors bid is be­ing spear­headed by the Su­per League club’s chair­man, Ian Le­na­gan, a for­mer chair­man of the EFL. David Molyneux, the leader of Wi­gan coun­cil, said it would be “very sup­port­ive”.

Wi­gan face QPR tonight with the club six points clear of the drop.

Keith Har­ris, the for­mer Foot­ball League chair­man, has been hired to ad­vise on po­ten­tial player sales as the club seek to raise funds to cover the short­fall owed to cred­i­tors.

AC Mi­lan agreed a £10mil­lion deal for Robinson in Jan­uary only for the deal to col­lapse, but the left­back has a re­lease clause that would make him avail­able for £1.5mil­lion if Wi­gan are rel­e­gated – the same as mid­fielder Wil­liams.

Only a fort­night ago, Wi­gan’s own­ers signed off a short-term deal to sign de­fender Leon Ba­lo­gun from Brighton on a £13,000-a-week con­tract as well as sanc­tion­ing a new £4,000-a-week con­tract for striker Joe Garner. Around the same time, it is un­der­stood Szeto Man Chun, who was work­ing as a “foot­ball con­sul­tant” for Wi­gan’s own­ers, was dis­cussing po­ten­tial in­fra­struc­ture projects with the club of­fi­cials.

Un­cer­tain fu­ture: Wi­gan are ap­peal­ing against a 12-point de­duc­tion, that could see them rel­e­gated, on the grounds of ‘force ma­jeure’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.