Administrators secure deal for Wigan Athletic

17 March 2021 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read

The future of former Premier League football club Wigan Athletic looks to have been secured, after administrators from Begbies Traynor announced new owners had been found. The 2013 FA Cup winners will now be part of Phoenix 2021 – a newly created holding business for Abdulrahman Al-Jasmi and the Europa Point Investment Corporation.

In July 2020, as the delayed football season looked to commence once more, Wigan Athletic announced the appointment of administrators. The devastating news saw the historic Lancashire club deducted points, and subsequently relegated from the Championship at the end of the campaign.

Begbies Traynor assigned Paul Stanley, Dean Watson, and Gerald Krasner – a former Chairman of Leeds United – to oversee the sale of the club, and expected a deal would be done before the 2020/21 season commenced – however a lifeline proved much harder to come by than first anticipated. With the administrators struggling to clinch a deal, if no agreement was reached by 31th August, Begbies Traynor said it would have to consider whether the club can be funded into the new campaign, due to start on 12th September 2020.

Administrators secure deal for Wigan Athletic

On 20 August, it was reported that former owner Au Yeung Wai Kay had waived a £36 million debt owed to him by the club in an effort to expedite its sale, while Wigan supporters began a fund-raising effort, eventually raising £700,000 to help secure the club's future. As a result, while the administrators did not conclude a deal by their deadline, the club was able to contest the new season in League One.

Six months on, the saga looks to have finally drawn to a conclusion, after the administrators declared they had found a buyer, and were currently waiting for regulatory approval to conclude the deal. According to the statement, the club and related assets will be transferred to Phoenix 2021 – a newly created entity backed by Abdulrahman Al-Jasmi’s Europa Point Investment Corporation – by 31st March at the latest.

"Contracts have been exchanged, a deposit has been received,” a release from the administrators stated. "The outstanding matters that need to be finalised to allow completion are practical matters around English Football League (EFL) membership and property transfers."

A letter from the Phoenix 2021 Chairman Talal Al Hammad meanwhile said, “I am pleased to announce that we have finally signed the Purchase Agreement for Wigan Athletic Football Club, between Phoenix 2021 and the joint administrators… I would like to take this opportunity to give my appreciation to Mr Abdulrahman Al-Jasmi, the owner of Phoenix 2021 and Europa Point Investment Corporation (EPIC), his investment team in Gibraltar and the Phoenix Management Team as they showed full support of this opportunity from the beginning and their commitment led to this remarkable outcome.”

Importantly for the Latics’ current season, the sale allows for non-football creditors to be paid a minimum dividend of 25p in the pound, avoiding a 15-point penalty deduction for the club which could have been imposed by the EFL in connection with the administration. With Wigan currently embroiled in a relegation battle to escape League One’s fourth relegation place, this majorly improves the prospect of the club surviving this season.

The Latics’ most recent major 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 English 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 of Au Yeung Wai Kay in 2018.