Wigan administrators confident takeover will be finalised in time for new season

A deadline of 31 August was set for the club to be sold

Mark Walker
Thursday 27 August 2020 15:25
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Wigan Athletic were placed in administration overnight in an 'unprecedented' scenario
Wigan Athletic were placed in administration overnight in an 'unprecedented' scenario

Wigan’s administrators are confident of completing a takeover deal with one of four serious bidders in time for the club to start the new season.

The club’s administrators Begbies Traynor set a deadline of 31 August for Wigan to be sold after the club had been placed in their hands on 1 July.

The Latics were subsequently relegated to League One after a 12-point deduction was imposed by the English Football League (EFL).

Administrator Gerald Krasner said: “I’ve got what I call the front-runners. I’ve got two different groups of Americans and I’ve got two UK bidders.

“One of the UK people has got the wherewithal to do it, but has got certain conditions, so we’re still talking to these people and I’m still somewhat optimistic that ultimately one of these deals will come to fruition.”

Wigan Athletic Supporters Club has raised £100,000 in its bid to secure the side’s future, but Krasner said it was not among the four bidders.

“I don’t know whether the local business people want to buy the club with them or not,” Krasner said. “We cannot give preference to one bidder over the other, but we will – in my opinion – start the new season. I’m confident enough to approach the EFL today to say we believe one of the bids will come to fruition.”

Krasner said that any prospective owner would need £4 million to complete a takeover and that would include the DW Stadium, which has been valued at £3m, and the training ground.

“If we can sell those property assets at £4m, and that is the quoted price to everybody, the football club goes for £1.”

Krasner added that he expected the EFL to ask the new owners for a £5m bond to cover projected club losses over the next two years of up to £2.2m. But he warned that there was still a threat that the club could be liquidated.

“I must be honest and I’m talking to the fans now,” he said. “If none of the bids, including the supporters’, do come to fruition, we do run out of options. At that stage we would have to seriously consider whether the club has a future and whether we should just sell the properties and put the club into liquidation.”

Wigan were placed into administration by owner Au Yeung Wai Kay, who has waived a total of £36m in debts owed to him by the club. Krasner confirmed this had removed the threat of a further points penalty next season and made the club a significantly more attractive proposition.

Wigan were acquired by a company owned by Dr Stanley Choi in November 2018 and subsequently sold to another company, Next Leader Fund, in which Choi held a 51 percent shareholding and Yeung 49 percent, in May 2020.

Yeung, who later bought Dr Choi’s 51 percent interest for £20m – effectively giving him sole control of the club – has faced allegations that he had intended to put Wigan in administration before he took full control, but Krasner confirmed there had been no evidence to support this.

“Mr Yeung approached Begbies Traynoron 23 June 2020 to seek advice on all of the options available to him regarding the future of the club and that no decisions were taken, nor instructions given, on that date,” the administrators added in a separate statement.

PA

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