Wigan Athletic loses points deduction appeal

Wigan Athletic FC

Wigan Athletic FC has been unsuccessful in its appeal against the deduction of 12 points for entering administration.

The English Football League (EFL) delivered its verdict this afternoon on Wigan’s plea at last Friday’s appeal hearing.

The decision means Wigan will play in League One next season, having been relegated from the Championship following the deduction of the points.

The club cited special circumstances for its appeal after its former Hong Kong-based owner, Next Leader Fund LP, pulled the plug on its finances, blaming the coronavirus pandemic.

Wigan has had to pay its own costs for the appeal, and those of the EFL, which will total around £500,000.

However, the joint administrators, from Begbies Traynor, handling the club’s administration, decided to press ahead with an appeal because, if successful, it would be worth £6m for Wigan in better TV rights from the Championship, compared with League One.

The EFL statement this afternoon said: “An independent Arbitration panel has ruled that Wigan Athletic’s 12-point deduction for entering administration last month will stand after dismissing the club’s appeal against the sporting sanction.

“The insolvency event occurred on the 1 July 2020 and under EFL Regulation 12.3, the club was subject to a 12-point sanction; yet the timing of the deduction could only be determined once the final games of the season had been played.

“The reason for this approach was due to the administration taking place after the fourth Thursday in March.

“In such circumstances EFL regulations state that, in the event a club is relegated by virtue of their final position following the conclusion of the league campaign, then the deduction would apply in the following season.

“As the club was not in the relegation places following the last round of Championship fixtures, the sanction was then applied to their 2019/20 total which resulted in a 23rd placed finish.

“In cases of insolvency, the panel does not determine the timing of the sanction as it can in independent disciplinary proceedings.

“The decision of the arbitration panel is final and legally binding.

“The EFL will continue to engage with the administrators to provide its full support in all ongoing matters with the aim of achieving a long-term future for the club.”

Wigan Athletic said in a statement: “The club put forward a strong case and naturally we are disappointed at the decision.

“The first team management will now prepare the team for next season’s Sky Bet League One campaign.”

The joint administrators were unavailable for comment.

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