Wigan Athletic appoints Begbies Traynor for administration

02 July 2020 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read

Championship club Wigan Athletic has gone into administration, becoming the first English professional club to do so since the coronavirus pandemic began. The club may now face a points deduction, while Begbies Traynor professions look to safeguard the future of the organisation.

A crack squad of insolvency and football business specialists have been installed to manage the administration of Wigan Athletic. Begbies Traynor has assigned Paul Stanley, Dean Watson, and Gerald Krasner – a former Chairman of Leeds United – to oversee the process, with the Championship season due to conclude later in July.

Krasner told the BBC, "Our immediate objectives are to ensure the club completes all its fixtures this season and to urgently find interested parties to save Wigan Athletic FC and the jobs of the people who work for the club. Obviously the suspension of the Championship season due to Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the recent fortunes of the club. Wigan Athletic has been a focal point and source of pride for the town since 1932 and anyone who is interested in buying this historic sporting institution should contact the joint administrators directly."Wigan Athletic appoints Begbies Traynor for administrationThe Latics’ most recent success came in 2013, when the Lancashire club managed to pull of one of the great shocks of modern football; defeating Manchester City at Wembley to become the first club to win the FA Cup in the same season it was relegated from the top-flight of league football. Wigan had been crafted into a surprise success story by owner Dave Wheelan, who steered the club from the fourth tier of English football to the Premier League in 2005. However, the DW Sports magnate sold the club to Hong-Kong based International Entertainment Corporation in 2018.

The club is understood to have struggled to balance its books since, with the suspension of the football season exacerbating this, depriving it of matchday income. While club executives claim there was no alternative but to place the club into administration to safeguard its future, the timing could arguably not have been worse. Wigan now faces a points deduction – something which if the standard is applied, would see them hit the foot of the Championship table, 4 points from safety with just six matches to secure league survival.

Wigan have won all three of their league games since the resumption of the Championship season in June, however, the disruption off the field might well have a knock-on effect on the players. Should the club be relegated, it will come as a further financial blow to the Latics.

Begbies Traynor’s Paul Stanley stated, "We understand that everybody connected with the club and the wider football world is seeking clarity on the future of Wigan Athletic. That's exactly what we are seeking to provide as we move through this process and we seek out interested parties to rescue this famous old club here in the region. It is a fast-moving situation and we will provide updates on key developments."

The suspension of football across the UK has hit clubs hard, from top to bottom of the league system. While Wigan is the first club in England to have appointed administrators, it is unlikely to be the last. It also follows the recent news that former Welsh Premier League champion Rhyl FC had commenced its winding up, having missed a self-imposed deadline to secure £175,000 of investment.