July 8 – There have been over 50 inquiries about buying Wigan Athletic FC – including from the town’s rugby league side Wigan Warriors – after the English Championship club were plunged into administration when its Hong Kong owner pulled the plug on further funding, according to the joint administrators.
In an online press conference with joint administrators Begbies Traynor, it was revealed that alarm bells started ringing when an expected payment of between £5 million -£6 million, which would have taken the club through to next season, failed to arrive from the new owners.
But on a positive note, one of the administrators Gerald Krasner said he had sent out 50 non-disclosure agreements to interested parties and has already had three returned, with proof of funding of £10 million each.
“We are in detailed discussions with these three,” he said.
Wigan Warriors are one of those to throw their hat into the ring via a consortium led by Warriors owner Ian Lenagan alongside finance experts Gary Speakman and Darryl Eales.
“Having shared a stadium together for many years and with a large number of fans supporting both clubs, we have become friends with many of the management and staff and we know that this is a very worrying time for them all,” the rugby club said. “We strongly believe that Wigan Athletic is better being locally-owned.
“As sustainability and ownership of the stadium is equally important to both clubs, we are currently working with our longstanding advisers KPMG and talking to external parties.
“Our intention is to identify other investors quickly and start due diligence on the football club with the intention of making a bid in due course. We have made the administrators aware of our interest and hope to explore this with them further over the days ahead.”
Meanwhile the English Football League has ridiculed owner Au Yeung Wai Kay’s claim that the Covid-19 crisis was to blame for the lack of funding.
He suggested on Tuesday that the pandemic had “fundamentally undermined” his ability to fund Wigan just four weeks after buying the club from another Hong Kong business.
In response the EFL said it “fundamentally disagrees with the comments” saying the businessman had provided evidence that he could fund the club at the time of the takeover on May 29, months after the outbreak of the virus.
Wigan have appealed against a 12-point deduction following administration on the grounds of “force majeure” while 75 staff have been made redundant.
“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.”
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