Wi­gan fans’ bat­tle over own­ers goes to West­min­ster

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Football - By Mike Mc­Grath

The Gov­ern­ment will re­spond to a pe­ti­tion started by Wi­gan Ath­letic Sup­port­ers’ Club to change the English Foot­ball League own­ers’ and di­rec­tors’ test, af­ter their cam­paign was backed by 10,000 sig­na­tures.

Fans have called for a re­view af­ter Wi­gan were taken over in June by Hong Kong busi­ness­man Au Ye­ung Wai Kay, only for him to with­draw fi­nan­cial sup­port within a month. The 12-point penalty for go­ing into ad­min­is­tra­tion saw them rel­e­gated from the Cham­pi­onship this week, al­though they are ap­peal­ing against the pun­ish­ment.

The 10,000 sig­na­tures mean the sup­port­ers’ pe­ti­tion will re­ceive a re­sponse from the Gov­ern­ment, and the is­sue will be con­sid­ered for a de­bate in Par­lia­ment when it reaches 100,000. Wi­gan MP Lisa Nandy threw her sup­port be­hind the cam­paign, urg­ing sup­port­ers to sign the pe­ti­tion. “Never again should any club have to go through what we’ve ex­pe­ri­enced in the last 21 days,” she wrote on Twit­ter.

The pe­ti­tion states that the test for be­com­ing an owner “does not seem to be fit for pur­pose to pro­tect foot­ball clubs in the fu­ture”.

Ad­min­is­tra­tors met yes­ter­day and con­firmed they would press ahead with their ap­peal against the 12-point penalty. Re­gard­less of the out­come, EFL rules state that they must pay le­gal costs, which will be up to £500,000.

To help pay Wi­gan’s wages for June, Jensen Weir has been sold to Brighton for £500,000. The 18-year-old mid­fielder fea­tured in four first-team games for the club.

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