EFL 'fundamentally disagrees'...


EFL 'fundamentally disagrees' with Wigan owner's view on club's collapse

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The English Football League says it "fundamentally disagrees" with the views of Wigan Athletic's owner regarding the club's lapse into administration. 

Au Yeung Wai Kay claims that the COVID-19 crisis "fundamentally undermined" their ability to fund the Championship club.

David Conn of The Guardian newspaper joined Off The Ball on Tuesday evening to discuss the bizarre situation.

"He has confirmed that he has invested more than £40 million. The first confirmation of the deal was on June 4th and then took complete control on the 24th of June, the week before last.

"On the very same day, he told his UK lawyers he wasn't going to put any more money into the club.

"Within a week they are in administration, which is effectively going to lose him all of that £40 million that he has just put in.

"Why would you buy a business and spend £40 million on it, and then immediately say 'no we can't run this,' and it's insolvent.

"He bought the club after the COVID-19 crisis started, he took it over when football was returning and now he's saying the COVID crisis has severely impacted it.

"This is something that we haven't seen, we have never seen anything like this before, in all those clubs that have gone into administration over all those years.

"There have been so many sagas, some of them unbelievable, but this, where someone buys a club for £40 million and then immediately puts it into insolvency. Why would you do that?"

Rather than answer Conn's question the Guardian journalist believes the statements from the Wigan owners confirm the questions.

Best Intentions

Yeung says he bought Wigan with the "best intentions", and ploughed £40million into the club with the aim of returning to the Premier League.

As things stand, Wigan are six-points clear of the relegation zone but will be deducted 12-points if they steer clear of the bottom three.

Club administrator Gerald Krasner said the club intend to appeal the points penalty, citing 'force majeure'.

The EFL says that the penalty will be imposed, and only then can they launch an appeal which "will be heard by an independent panel appointed by Sports Resolutions".

The EFL statement suggests Mr. Yeung did have the funding to keep Wigan afloat saying, "Whilst it is clear that Covid-19 has undoubtedly presented significant financial challenges to the professional game, evidence of the required source and sufficiency of funding to be invested in or otherwise made available to the Club, was provided as part of the recent change of control process."

They've also welcomed an investigation by Wigan's administrators into Mr. Yeung's purchase of the club.

They say, "should any breaches of football regulations or company law be discovered, action will be taken either by the League or the body with the relevant jurisdiction to do so."

The EFL have also empathised with frustrations over the Owners’ and Directors’ Test conducted by every prospective owner of a league club.

They acknowledge, "that there is a requirement for ongoing adaptation and improvement but, from a legal perspective, it can only operate within existing parameters."

However, they also point to a review which took place of the Owners' and Directors' Test as recently as 2018.

Wigan Athletic's DW co-tenants Wigan Warriors are among those bidding to take control of the beleaguered side.

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Au Yeung Wai Kay EFL Gerald Krasner Wigan Wigan Athletic Wigan Warriors

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