Wigan Athletic

GoldenMiller34

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The EFL have been quite clear regarding the points deduction. Only if Wigan finish in the bottom 3 anyway will it apply in L1 next season. This is highly unlikely as they probably only need another 3 pts to avoid doing so. So it will almost certainly be applied this season (not next) in the CH. They are in good enough form to gain enough points from their remaining 6 matches to absorb the 12pt deduction and still stay up but the exact number of points from the 6 matches they will need is impossible to calculate accurately at this moment. An asterisk should be added next to their current points total regarding the possible deduction this season as it has now become tricky to read the table properly!

I still think that the EFL's conduct needs investigation and the appeal that Wigan are considering under 'force majeur' is not dead in the water. It was only 1 month ago that the EFL approved the sale from IEC to Next Leader having satisfied themselves that Next Leader had the funds for this season and next. The global pandemic was in as fuller swing 1 month ago as it is now, therefore, it appears the EFL were wrong to be satisfied then, their error. Additionally, the sale approved was between 2 entities in which Dr Stanley was the majority shareholder. Along with the sale an interest free loan from IEC to Wigan was turned into a replacement loan to the 'new owner' containing interest which is costing Wigan £37,846 per week! In the meantime Stanley has ceded his majority shareholding and chairmanship of Next Leader to Au Yeung Wai Kay. It appears that Next Fund pulling the plug has come out of the blue to both the club and the hastily appointed administrators who have heard nil and cannot make contact with Kay. The whole business is dodgier than a bottle of crisps and the EFL is complicit in this. After Bury and Charlton you'd think they would be more cautious.

Finally, on another point, the DCMS is still on the PL's case re distribution of its wealth down the pyramid but apparently the PL wants to get the season finished first. This is a bit tardy by the PL. Also, the earliest there could be a vaccine looks like January so how keen will NL, L2, L1 and even CH clubs be to restart in September? It seems that instead of togetherness everybody is prepared to sit around and let our whole league structure be decimated without thought for the local communities who will lose clubs.

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GoldenMiller34

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Here is the follow-up article from David Conn. The situation stinks, the EFL's approval process for new owners needs to include a watertight commitment that a new owner actually funds the club. Wigan are pawns in a game of international high finance shenanigans perpetrated by corrupt Chinese capitalists. In the circumstances to deduct 12pts is an insult to the hard work of Wigan's employees and the loyal support of their fans. The EFL bear some responsibility for this disgraceful situation. Parry is asleep at the wheel:

The brutal, bizarre collapse of Wigan Athletic has raised many glaring and alarming questions, but one central contradiction lies in the ruins. The Championship club have become the first to fall into administration during the Covid-19 crisis which could claim many more, but Wigan’s own insolvency has little to do with the coronavirus shutdown.

It is one of the most unlikely and baffling scenarios ever thrown up even among the frequently outlandish sagas of football’s relationship with money.

Wigan go into administration four weeks after Hong Kong takeover


Read more
Wigan, formerly the epitome of traditional football club ownership by a wealthy local benefactor, are bust 19 months since the retail magnate Dave Whelan sold to International Entertainment Corporation, which he hoped would safeguard his legacy. Even at the time, it seemed an unlikely fit: Whelan, the former footballer, acme of Lancashire man-made-good, selling his home-built club to a company based in Hong Kong, registered in the Cayman Islands tax haven, which runs a casino in Manila.
The administrator Gerald Krasner, of Begbies Traynor, said on Thursday that once they have overcome the pressing challenge of completing Wigan’s six remaining matches, they will investigate the bewildering circumstances of the administration itself. IEC, listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, announced as recently as 29 May that it had sold Wigan, for £17.5m – even showing a profit on the £15.9m they paid Whelan in November 2018. IEC stated that on the same day, less than five weeks ago, the £24.6m it had put into Wigan, funding players’ wages and heavy losses, had been repaid in full.
The club announced the takeover on 4 June, by Next Leader Fund, also based in Hong Kong and registered in the Cayman Islands. Supporters were told “the support from owners” would help the club through the current crisis. A new director, Au Yeung, said he was “excited to join the Wigan Athletic family”, that he looked forward to working with the board and staff, and: “Most importantly I hope to meet the club’s passionate fans.”
Wigan fans at the FA Cup final in 2013.

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Wigan fans at the FA Cup final in 2013. Photograph: Ian Kington/AFP/Getty Images
Initially the Hong Kong businessman Dr Choi Chiu Fai Stanley, chairman of IEC, owned more than 50% of both the seller, IEC, and the buyer, NLF. But then on 24 June – just last week – Au Yeung, initially a minority shareholder in NLF, was stated to have become the owner of more than 75%; he is thought to be the 100% owner: a complete takeover from IEC.
The EFL is understood to have approved both the initial NLF takeover and Au Yeung’s, so the Wigan calamity again raises questions over its vetting processes. The rules only require a buyer to show that they have the money to fund a club – not to actually provide that money, a bond, or insurance, to ensure the funding is there.
On that very same day, last Wednesday, according to Krasner, Au Yeung’s UK lawyers approached Begbies Traynor potentially to be administrators. No further money would be provided – the Wigan directors had projected that £6m was needed for future funding – and the club was going to be put into administration. The club directors are said to have had no notice of this until Tuesday. The insolvency practitioners were appointed on Wednesday morning, for a club newly taken over but suddenly bust, with a Championship-sized wage bill and at least £6m owed to non-football creditors, Krasner has estimated.
In Wigan, little is known of Au Yeung apart from the note in IEC’s sale document which stated he “has relevant experience in business operations management and business leadership as he has worked in commodity and real estate investment management in Asia”. Also that he “has been operating an amateur football team for more than 15 years, winning several awards”.
So, the facts as set out are that in the middle of the coronavirus crisis, while football was still shut down and many clubs fear going out of business, Au Yeung decided to buy Wigan Athletic, a club which even in normal times loses millions of pounds. At first in partnership with Choi, he paid £17.5m, giving IEC more than they paid for the club, and also ensured their £24m loan was repaid. But then, on the day he took ownership after this £41m purchase, he decided not to fund it and to put the club into administration, so losing control, the £17.5m, and probably the £24m too.
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No explanation has been provided for this remarkable whirl of events. IEC noted when selling to NLF that the Championship’s punishing finances were the key reason for cutting their losses. But Au Yeung has not explained why he decided it was worth £41m to have a go at Wigan, then immediately dropped the club and put it into administration.
Krasner was asked whether he believed the sale could have been orchestrated by IEC, effectively to take Wigan off its books before it was dumped. He replied: “We have not started the investigation yet; we are aware of concerns that have been raised … Once I know that we have saved the club, all our resources will be put into [an investigation].”
IEC did not respond to questions from the Guardian about the sale to Au Yeung, and Au Yeung’s UK lawyers declined to comment.
Meanwhile Wigan, famously built up by Whelan for 23 years from League Two to the Premier League and 2013 FA Cup glory, are in wreckage, having being taken over, then put into administration, in a week.
 

paulh66

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The commercial reality behind the deal seemed curious yesterday. This confirms it!

I expect they'll find a saviour but the investigation should be interesting. And the authorities clearly haven't learned the lessons of Bury.
 

paulh66

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Besides the administrators saying the club has a 1 in 4 chance of not completing the season, we now have Rick Parry being caught out telling a fan he's aware of rumours the administration was triggered by a bet in the Philippines on the club being relegated. He could probably do without that on the day the EFL urged the government not to ban football sponsorship from gambling companies!
This is quickly turning into another circus.
 

GoldenMiller34

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Besides the administrators saying the club has a 1 in 4 chance of not completing the season, we now have Rick Parry being caught out telling a fan he's aware of rumours the administration was triggered by a bet in the Philippines on the club being relegated. He could probably do without that on the day the EFL urged the government not to ban football sponsorship from gambling companies!
This is quickly turning into another circus.
Several issues here.

I'm far from convinced at the moment that Parry is the best man for the EFL job, however, his war against parachute payments and thus against his ex-employers is a point in his favour and I will reserve full judgement until he negotiates the next TV contract. It's quite decent of him to speak at length to the fan and a rumour is just a rumour but it would make sense. I wonder, if it is true, when the bet was placed - certainly if true and it was placed during the suspension it would be a quite deliberate sign (due to Wigan's good form even before lockdown) that Stanley (a pro poker player) planned to put the club into administration and makes the 'sale' look even more of a fraudulent front. If any bet was placed earlier in the season would we not have seen the sale of players (not just the proposed transfer of Robinson) in the January window?

Either way: an owner betting against his own team and the fake sale - this looks more and more like it has little to do with Covid-19. Wigan and the EFL have been taken. Surely there are grounds for appeal against any points deduction, apart from not conducting due dilligence regarding the recent 'sale' should the EFL also have been more wary about approving the previous sale to a pro gambler?

The possible abolition of sponsorship from gambling companies, apart from potentially leaving many clubs struggling for shirt sponsorship, and another stream of revenue, next season throws the above into starker light. And what future is there in Stoke being owned by Bet 365 in this climate?

It is a circus alright, one partly of the EFL's making. And if Wigan are unable to complete the season there is the further impact of all their results being expunged leading to a late reshuffling of the table, perhaps with 1 or 2 matches to go, and the consequent swift and dramatic change of positions and potential for the remaining clubs' seasons. It would also leave the EFL 1 club short again and there is already too much confusion about the NL play offs and whether there will be an NL competion next season! (As Millwall only took 1 poxy point off Wigan we are one club likely to benefit!)
 

GoldenMiller34

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If Wigan can't fulfill all their fixtures (25% chance according to the administrators) all their results will be expunged, altering the balance of the table at a very late stage. If this does happen who knows when it will. The worth of points gained versus Wigan from now could be nil and they play (in order) Brentford, On The Beach, Barnsley, Hull, Charlton, Fulham. The table will be settled on 44, not 46, games and clubs would lose the following points: Preston -6, Swansea -6, Derby -4, Bristol City -4, Brentford -3, Fulham -3, Nottm. For. -3, West Brom -1, Cardiff -1, Blackburn -1, Millwall -1.... Luton -4, Middlesbrough -4, Stoke -3, Barnsley -1, Huddersfield -1, Hull -1, Charlton 0. Just saying!
 

Chris1963

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If Wigan can't fulfill all their fixtures (25% chance according to the administrators) all their results will be expunged, altering the balance of the table at a very late stage. If this does happen who knows when it will. The worth of points gained versus Wigan from now could be nil and they play (in order) Brentford, On The Beach, Barnsley, Hull, Charlton, Fulham. The table will be settled on 44, not 46, games and clubs would lose the following points: Preston -6, Swansea -6, Derby -4, Bristol City -4, Brentford -3, Fulham -3, Nottm. For. -3, West Brom -1, Cardiff -1, Blackburn -1, Millwall -1.... Luton -4, Middlesbrough -4, Stoke -3, Barnsley -1, Huddersfield -1, Hull -1, Charlton 0. Just saying!
What is meant by 'on the beach'?
 

Sacristan.Revenant

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The EFL have been quite clear regarding the points deduction. Only if Wigan finish in the bottom 3 anyway will it apply in L1 next season. This is highly unlikely as they probably only need another 3 pts to avoid doing so. So it will almost certainly be applied this season (not next) in the CH. They are in good enough form to gain enough points from their remaining 6 matches to absorb the 12pt deduction and still stay up but the exact number of points from the 6 matches they will need is impossible to calculate accurately at this moment. An asterisk should be added next to their current points total regarding the possible deduction this season as it has now become tricky to read the table properly!

I still think that the EFL's conduct needs investigation and the appeal that Wigan are considering under 'force majeur' is not dead in the water. It was only 1 month ago that the EFL approved the sale from IEC to Next Leader having satisfied themselves that Next Leader had the funds for this season and next. The global pandemic was in as fuller swing 1 month ago as it is now, therefore, it appears the EFL were wrong to be satisfied then, their error. Additionally, the sale approved was between 2 entities in which Dr Stanley was the majority shareholder. Along with the sale an interest free loan from IEC to Wigan was turned into a replacement loan to the 'new owner' containing interest which is costing Wigan £37,846 per week! In the meantime Stanley has ceded his majority shareholding and chairmanship of Next Leader to Au Yeung Wai Kay. It appears that Next Fund pulling the plug has come out of the blue to both the club and the hastily appointed administrators who have heard nil and cannot make contact with Kay. The whole business is dodgier than a bottle of crisps and the EFL is complicit in this. After Bury and Charlton you'd think they would be more cautious.

Finally, on another point, the DCMS is still on the PL's case re distribution of its wealth down the pyramid but apparently the PL wants to get the season finished first. This is a bit tardy by the PL. Also, the earliest there could be a vaccine looks like January so how keen will NL, L2, L1 and even CH clubs be to restart in September? It seems that instead of togetherness everybody is prepared to sit around and let our whole league structure be decimated without thought for the local communities who will lose clubs.

Links:
If it is proven that this situation has arisen due to the 'servicing' of a bet, then, I think that an alternative - novel - 'punishment' should be meted out, if it is not to be simply altered to become a 12 point deduction for 2020-21 only... in order to stymie that specific bet.
I'd suggest, aside from declaring the current ownership illegal, an enforced suspension-cum-abeyance for the 2019-20 season, but only in the matter of WAFC's own results/position ~ they'd be assisted by the EFL to competitively complete their final six fixtures.
 

windydcfc

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If it is proven that this situation has arisen due to the 'servicing' of a bet, then, I think that an alternative - novel - 'punishment' should be meted out, if it is not to be simply altered to become a 12 point deduction for 2020-21 only... in order to stymie that specific bet.
I'd suggest, aside from declaring the current ownership illegal, an enforced suspension-cum-abeyance for the 2019-20 season, but only in the matter of WAFC's own results/position ~ they'd be assisted by the EFL to competitively complete their final six fixtures.
Isn’t this on a par with issues that have happened in Italian football over the years. Could they face expulsion from the EFL?
 

paulh66

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Several issues here.

I'm far from convinced at the moment that Parry is the best man for the EFL job, however, his war against parachute payments and thus against his ex-employers is a point in his favour and I will reserve full judgement until he negotiates the next TV contract. It's quite decent of him to speak at length to the fan and a rumour is just a rumour but it would make sense. I wonder, if it is true, when the bet was placed - certainly if true and it was placed during the suspension it would be a quite deliberate sign (due to Wigan's good form even before lockdown) that Stanley (a pro poker player) planned to put the club into administration and makes the 'sale' look even more of a fraudulent front. If any bet was placed earlier in the season would we not have seen the sale of players (not just the proposed transfer of Robinson) in the January window?

Either way: an owner betting against his own team and the fake sale - this looks more and more like it has little to do with Covid-19. Wigan and the EFL have been taken. Surely there are grounds for appeal against any points deduction, apart from not conducting due dilligence regarding the recent 'sale' should the EFL also have been more wary about approving the previous sale to a pro gambler?

The possible abolition of sponsorship from gambling companies, apart from potentially leaving many clubs struggling for shirt sponsorship, and another stream of revenue, next season throws the above into starker light. And what future is there in Stoke being owned by Bet 365 in this climate?

It is a circus alright, one partly of the EFL's making. And if Wigan are unable to complete the season there is the further impact of all their results being expunged leading to a late reshuffling of the table, perhaps with 1 or 2 matches to go, and the consequent swift and dramatic change of positions and potential for the remaining clubs' seasons. It would also leave the EFL 1 club short again and there is already too much confusion about the NL play offs and whether there will be an NL competion next season! (As Millwall only took 1 poxy point off Wigan we are one club likely to benefit!)
The investigation will doubtless uncover all sorts of shenanigans but, as you suggest, may well also lead into a legal and regulatory minefield, in all sorts of ways.

Parry got stung by the recording but, even though he didn't divulge anything substantive, he could well do without the publicity about that while he's coming under serious pressure from other quarters. His and the EFL's performance has already been called into question in recent months and will likely come under much more intense scrutiny in the coming weeks.

Pass the popcorn. Again!
 
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GoldenMiller34

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Isn’t this on a par with issues that have happened in Italian football over the years. Could they face expulsion from the EFL?
Can a club be blamed for dodgy foreign owners APPROVED BY THE EFL?
 

GoldenMiller34

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Today's article by David Conn: https://www.theguardian.com/football/2020/jul/03/wigan-athletic-lawyers-appointed-to-investigate-collapse-of-club

The key passage being:
"The administrator of Wigan Athletic has said lawyers have been appointed to investigate the circumstances of the club’s collapse, including the rumour of a possible gambling connection cited by the EFL chairman, Rick Parry.
The mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, and Wigan MP Lisa Nandy also jointly wrote to Parry calling for the EFL to conduct an investigation, saying: “There are serious questions to be asked about the EFL’s processes, with the club’s new owner being approved just a matter of days before it was plunged into administration.” They also asked the EFL to suspend the club’s 12-point penalty for going into administration – which could apply this season or next depending on its final league position – pending the outcome of the investigation."
 

GoldenMiller34

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This begins to cast doubts on the administrators.

The EFL declining to even respond to the Nandy/Burnham letter shows the EFL higher echelons are scum and not fit for purpose. It appears they hate the clubs in their league and couldn't give a toss about local communities.
 

Burgesshillbee

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This begins to cast doubts on the administrators.

The EFL declining to even respond to the Nandy/Burnham letter shows the EFL higher echelons are scum and not fit for purpose. It appears they hate the clubs in their league and couldn't give a toss about local communities.
Administrators are probably doing their legal obligations to try and ensure there is still a club that can be purchased, they need to try and finish the season. As for the EFL, is anyone surprised.
 

Swindon Addick

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The administrators have a duty to maximise the amount of money paid to Wigan's creditors. The reason administrators usually try to keep the club going is that's usually the best way to bring in some money, but they don't keep it going if they can get more money by winding it up. That's what they're there for.

Do we know for sure that the new owners demonstrated proof of funds? We know they passed the fit & proper person test, which is a very low bar to clear, but had they shown the EFL the money yet? Charlton's owners never had the money and never got fully approved, but they were still our new owners because they'd bought the club and the EFL can't prevent that happening.
 

oftenscore6

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The administrators have a duty to maximise the amount of money paid to Wigan's creditors. The reason administrators usually try to keep the club going is that's usually the best way to bring in some money, but they don't keep it going if they can get more money by winding it up. That's what they're there for.

Do we know for sure that the new owners demonstrated proof of funds? We know they passed the fit & proper person test, which is a very low bar to clear, but had they shown the EFL the money yet? Charlton's owners never had the money and never got fully approved, but they were still our new owners because they'd bought the club and the EFL can't prevent that happening.
You're correct re the administrators.

I was under the impression that proof of funds had been provided. However, actually using them to subsidise the club is apparently a different story.

The EFL administration can only follow the rules that they have been given - I guess initially inherited from the old Football League rules, but subsequent changes approved the clubs themselves. So those people who think they should do more, it's the clubs who need to lobby for that..

On the subject of betting, this would appear to be rather different than any match fixing as the players are certainly not lying down and are playing matches exactly as they should. Were an owner to deliberately put the club in admin to trigger a 12 point penalty in order to win a bet, that would be rather nefarious. As an owner they couldn't place any bet now, but perhaps that ought to be added to the directorship restrictions, that they do not have an interest in any existing bets on football.
 

paulh66

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The EFL administration can only follow the rules that they have been given - I guess initially inherited from the old Football League rules, but subsequent changes approved the clubs themselves. So those people who think they should do more, it's the clubs who need to lobby for that..
The leadership and executive of any membership body needs to be proactive in setting the agenda, building consensus amongst the members as it goes. Passively waiting for the clubs to come up with any meaningful financial self regulation wouid result in a very long wait! The salary cap proposal, for example, at least suggests the EFL is being proactive in this regard.

However football appears to be rapidly approaching the point where, like many other industries with a public interest angle to them, self regulation simply doesn't meet the needs or expectations of its stakeholders. If so, the creation an independent regulator with the necessary power and authority to be effective, may be the inevitable outcome. Football has so far resisted this but, on issues such as ownership and financing, its desire or ability to properly police itself once again appears seriously wanting.
 

windydcfc

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The Price of Football Twitter site @KieranMaguire has just tweeted several posts about the Wigan Athletic story and is quite incisive
 
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