There has been a last minute hitch in efforts to save football club Wigan Athletic from administration, after an approved bidder cut their offer for the EFL League One club almost in half
In July last year, Wigan Athletic Football Club became the first English professional club to be kicked into touch since the coronavirus pandemic began.
Paul Stanley, Gerald Krasner and Dean Watson, partners from Begbies Traynor, were appointed as joint administrators to the football club, which was established in the town in the 1930s and won the FA Cup against Manchester City in 2013.
An offer headed by Felipe Moreno, owner of Spanish club Leganes, was accepted in September.
This was expected to complete in the post-Christmas period, but now the administrators have announced negotiations with the Spanish bidder have been broken off.
Gerald Krasner, joint administrator and Begbies Traynor partner, said that as late as Christmas Eve the bidder indicated that they wanted to complete the deal immediately and had wired money from Spain to their UK solicitors.
This was confirmed as being received by their solicitors over the Christmas period. The sale contract was agreed, the documentation had been signed in relation to the assignment of the leases with Wigan Council, relating to the club’s stadium and College relating to the training ground, and completion was planned to take place in between Christmas and New Year.
Krasner said: ‘However, over this weekend we received a letter from the bidder reducing the bid by almost 50%.
‘This would not allow us to pay non-football creditors the required 25p in the pound to avoid further sanctions against the club.
‘This would result in a 15-point deduction and would effectively relegate the club to League 2.
‘The purchaser was insistent on offering the reduced price but was not prepared to conclude the deal unless the 15-point deduction was waived.
‘Under the EFL insolvency policy, this is not possible and the deal is therefore unable to be concluded.’
Krasner said the administrators have informed the EFL and are now starting to talk to other bidders who have expressed interest and will provide an update when there is any definite news.
At the point when it fell into administration, Wigan Athletic was in 14th place in the EFL Championship league.
A subsequent 12-point deduction relating to the administration saw it relegated League One, where Wigan is currently placed 22nd out of 24 teams. The club have also been hit by a coronavirus outbreak, with their next two league fixtures already called off.