Wi­gan re­cruit top QC to fight club’s 12-point de­duc­tion

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

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.

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