Championship side Wigan face 12-point deduction after going into administration

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John WEAVER
·2 min read
Wigan won the FA Cup in 2013 under manager Roberto Martinez (AFP Photo/IAN KINGTON)
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London (AFP) - Championship side Wigan will be handed a 12-point deduction after entering administration as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic starts to bite in English football.

If the 2013 FA Cup winners are relegated, the sanction will be applied to the start of their League One campaign in 2020/21 but if their results are good enough to stay up, it will be applied to the final 2019/20 table instead.

Wigan are currently in 14th place in the second tier on 50 points after a fine recent run -- a 12-point drop would take them bottom and four points adrift of safety.

Paul Stanley, Gerald Krasner and Dean Watson of insolvency firm Begbies Traynor have been appointed as joint administrators.

"Our immediate objectives are to ensure the club completes all its fixtures this season and to urgently find interested parties to save Wigan Athletic FC and the jobs of the people who work for the club," said Krasner.

"Obviously the suspension of the Championship season due to COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the recent fortunes of the club."

Former Wigan owner Dave Whelan responded to the news by revealing he will look at whether he is able to help the club.

Whelan funded Wigan's remarkable rise from obscurity to the Premier League.

"I can't promise anything. I'm 83 - I'll be 84 later this year. Age is age," Whelan told Wigan Today.

"And I have no idea about the depths of the club's financial problems and how much they owe.

"You can't blindly make commitments to bail a business out come what may. We sit on the fence and wait to see what details - if any - emerge."

Championship clubs have been hit by the cost of testing and extending player contracts to complete the season and the loss of income from gate receipts with all matches behind closed doors.

Unlike the Premier League, the English second tier cannot rely on billions in television rights deals to mitigate that financial blow.

Krasner added: "Wigan Athletic has been a focal point and source of pride for the town since 1932 and anyone who is interested in buying this historic sporting institution should contact the joint administrators directly."

Wigan, who were in the Premier League as recently as 2013, have six games to play in the current season, which resumed on June 20.

The club dropped down into League One in 2015 but made an immediate return to the Championship.

Wigan recorded a net loss of £9.2 million ($11.4 million) in their most recent annual accounts for the year ending June 30, 2019.

The club were owned by JJB Sports co-founder Whelan until November 2018, when he and his family sold to the Hong Kong-based International Entertainment Corporation (IEC).

There was a further change of ownership on May 29 this year, when IEC divested its ownership to Next Leader Fund.