Wigan recruit top QC to fight club’s 12-point deduction
One of the country’s leading barristers has been appointed to oversee Wigan Athletic’s appeal against their 12-point deduction by the English Football League, after the club were put into administration.
David Phillips QC, of Wilberforce Chambers, will lead Wigan’s fight to overturn the sanction on the ground of force majeure, which usually relates to exceptional circumstances beyond the control of parties involved.
The EFL will wait to discover where Wigan finish in the Championship table before determining when to apply the deduction. If Paul Cook’s side are relegated this term, the sanction will be applied at the start of the 202021 League One season. However, if Wigan are not in the bottom three by the end of the season, the deduction will be applied and the standings amended accordingly.
Phillips has sat as a recorder and Deputy High Court Judge for more than 20 years and is a legal member of the Football Association specialist panel and the FA Premier League panel.
“You’ve got to give it your best shot,” Paul Stanley, one of Wigan’s joint administrators, said of the appeal process. Wigan also face the threat of an additional 15-point deduction if part of a £6million debt to non-football creditors, including HMRC, is not repaid.
Rick Parry, the EFL chairman, said yesterday that there needed to be “collective responsibility” for Wigan’s plight after the club were put into administration only four weeks after Au Yeung Wai Kay’s Next Leader Fund bought the club from the Hong Kong consortium, International Entertainment Corporation (IEC) on May 29.
The EFL has launched an investigation into the circumstances that led to the crisis, separate to the one being conducted by Wigan’s administrators, Begbies Traynor, and has vowed to reform the controversial owners’ and directors’ test.
But Parry insisted that Au Yeung had appeared reputable.