Council backs consortium bid

Council backs consortium bid

Wigan Council has backed a bid by Wigan Warriors owner Ian Lenagan to buy Wigan Athletic - a week after the championship club announced it was going into administration.

And following the announcement about redundancies this week, the council is offering support to affected employees.

In a statement issued by the council today, leader Councillor David Molyneux, said:

“Wigan Athletic Football Club means so much to so many in our town, which is why we feel it’s important we do everything we can to secure its future.

“Our business teams are on standby ready to offer their help to Wigan Athletic employees. We have worked with local partners to support any residents who are at risk of or made redundant to find new employment and this will be available. We will do all we can to help those affected.

“To see the amount of money that has been raised so quickly through the club’s crowdfunding appeal just shows how much it means to people. For so many, including us, it’s much more than a football club.”

Donate to the Wigan Athletic football club’s appeal (external link).

The leader has also written to the EFL confirming the council’s desire to find a positive way forward and offering to discuss the situation:

Dear Mr Parry,

As you are aware there is a great deal of shock and disbelief in the town of Wigan following Wigan Athletic going into administration on 1st July.

The information that has come out since regarding the circumstances leading up to the administration convince us that the football club is the victim of a gross misjustice.

The supporters of the football club and the wider town are uniting in a battle against this injustice and Wigan Council stands firmly with them.

The commitment shown by the fans and the supporters club since has been incredible and illustrates the depth of feeling towards the club and a collective desire to find a positive way forward.

It is incumbent on all of us in positions of influence to do what we can to make this happen.

This week we learned there are 75 members of staff who have lost their jobs at the club.

This is deeply concerning especially given the pressures on our local economy due to the effects of Covid-19.

At the council we are working to support those affected so that they are able to return to employment as soon as possible.

As well as supporting in the immediate impact of the administration the council has a significant interest in the club having a viable future in the weeks, months and years ahead.

This is an interest not just as affected landowners and board members, with respect to the stadium, but through recognition that the club has a vitally important role to play in our identify as a town and as a source of pride for generations of Wiganers.

Its role in our community as a club is immeasurable.

I have for the past week been in discussions regarding the future of the club and as a council we will be as supportive as possible in assisting a sale to owners with a viable and sustainable future for the club as their primary objective.

I welcome the assurances from the EFL earlier this week (07.7.20) which outlined your support for the club in exiting administration as soon as possible and a sale of the club as immediate priorities.

I also noted your intentions to carry out an investigation into the circumstances of the change of ownership and also into whether your ‘Owners and Directors Test’ is fit for purpose.

I would urge that all findings of these investigations are made public so that the fans, stakeholders and politicians can understand the full facts and circumstances so that mistakes are not repeated.

It was however disappointing to read that you intend to continue with applying the penalty of a deduction of 12 points at the end of the season.

I would urge that given the unique circumstances of this case, and the potential for failings in your own processes to have contributed to this situation, that you suspend any threat of the 12-point deduction penalty indefinitely.

Finally in your statement you advise you would be engaging with local politicians and I would like to take up that offer and look forward to speaking with you in the very near future to discuss the situation further.

Yours sincerely 

Councillor David Molyneux

Leader, Wigan Council

Posted on Wednesday 8th July 2020

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