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Wigan administrators select preferred bidder for stricken club

Wigan placed into administration and facing 12-point deduction
(Image credit: Martin Rickett)

Wigan’s administrators have selected a preferred bidder to buy the club.

Joint administrator Gerald Krasner said there were five offers in total from 64 non-disclosure agreements sent out.

“The bid we have chosen represents the best bid for the creditors for the company and for Wigan as a football club,” he said.

Gerald Krasner says a preferred bidder has been identified

Gerald Krasner says a preferred bidder has been identified (Appeal PR/PA)

Krasner said a letter had gone out to the preferred bidder, which must be returned by noon on Thursday with their lawyers needing to confirm they have the entire funds for acquisition.

The Sky Bet Championship club were placed in administration on July 1, less than a month after a change of ownership.

They face a 12-point penalty after Wednesday night’s final league game against Fulham, but have lodged an appeal against the sanction.

Krasner set out what would happen next in terms of the sale.

“The basis of the sale is contracts have to be exchanged by July 31st. Once exchanged, the proceeds will be held in escrow pending completion.

“Completion is subject to passing the EFL’s owners’ and directors’ test which at best could take three weeks.

“We are in semi-limbo, waiting for letters back, contracts to be signed on 31st July, and waiting for the EFL.”

The bidders will remain anonymous at least until contracts are exchanged.

Krasner said that the former owner, Au Yeung Wai Kay, had agreed to the administrators’ request to be interviewed via Zoom to discuss the circumstances which led to the club being placed in administration.

“Mr Yeung has agreed to do a Zoom interview in July so we can look into fully what has happened,” he said.

Krasner said the report of the investigation would not be made public.

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy tweeted: “Big day at Wigan Athletic with the confirmation that a preferred bidder has been selected. Pleased to hear there will be no attempts to delay the process. The EFL must ensure the bidder (who is yet to be revealed) will secure the long-term future of the club.”

Krasner confirmed the sale of one unnamed player had already been completed, and the money used to pay the wages of all club staff in full for the month of June.

He said he expected two further deals to be completed this week, as the focus turns to paying July’s wages.

The club’s appeal against their 12-point sanction for entering administration will be heard on July 31, Krasner said.

But he said win or lose the club would have to meet the legal costs on all sides under EFL rules, which he estimated at up to £500,000.

Krasner said: “To football supporters everywhere, one day your football club could face this.

“The rules of natural justice tell me that this isn’t right. I don’t blame the Football League, these rules were approved by the football chairmen of clubs in all the divisions and it’s about time the whole situation was looked at to make it a fairer process.”

Krasner pointed out that even if the appeal succeeds, a two-year transfer ban will be imposed.

He added: “Lastly there is the fact that the end of the sale process, creditors have to receive at least 25p in the pound if paid in one lump, or 35p in the pound if paid in instalments over the years. Otherwise next season there is a 15-point penalty.

“We are not out of the woods yet but on the strategy the joint administrators are working on, if the club gets sold, there is an optimistic chance that that 25p can be paid in one lump, thus avoiding that penalty.”