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Wigan owner claims he bought club with "best intentions"

The owner of Wigan Athletic - Au Yeung Wai Kay - insists he bought the troubled club with the "best intentions". 

The Championship club find themselves in administration and in real danger of going out of business.

Next Leader Fund - led by Yeung - only took full control of Wigan on June 4. The decision to appoint administrators came less than a month later on July 1.

The sudden financial collapse of the 2013 FA Cup winners has led to an investigation from their administrators.

We bought Wigan Athletic with the best intentions: to create a team that would get the club back into the Premier League, and I have invested more than £40million.

"I think four weeks (from sale to administration) is a record that will stand for some time," Gerald Krasner of insolvency practitioner Begbies Traynor said last week.

"You don’t start the investigation on day one, you save the club on day one and the investigation flows as you get the information.

"Everyone has got to fill in their questionnaires before we know where we’re starting to look.

"That (investigation) won’t wait until we’ve sold the club, that will start when I know that we can finish the season and we’ve got the non-disclosure letters out, so we’re talking about a two-week delay to get the most important jobs done and then we sit down with our lawyers and we see if there is any litigation there that will be to the benefit of the creditors."

But speaking to Wigan Today via his lawyers, Yeung insisted he only had the benefit of Wigan Athletic at heart.

"We bought Wigan Athletic with the best intentions: to create a team that would get the club back into the Premier League, and I have invested more than £40million.

"Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis has severely impacted people and businesses around the world - and Championship football clubs, which rely on fans coming through the turnstiles, are no exception.

"This has fundamentally undermined our ability to fund Wigan Athletic and, after struggling to find a solution."

Krasner said on Tuesday that he's "very confident" that the club will be able to complete the season.

They've also launched an appeal against their 12-point deduction that will accompany administration, citing 'force majeure'.

Wigan owner claims he bought club with "best intentions"

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

"I'm slightly less confident but still optimistic that we'll get a sale through," Krasner added.

"It's early days but it's going in the right direction.

"From that 50 people, three have sent it back with proof of funds, so we're over the first hurdle, nine to go as they say.

"I think we may whittle the 50 down to two or three, but we only need the one buyer."

One of the potential new owners of Wigan Athletic, are their fellow DW Stadium tenants Wigan Warriors.

The Super League rugby league side have a bid led by their chairman, and former English Football League chair, Ian Lenegan.

A Warriors statement said of their bid, "We strongly believe that Wigan Athletic is better being locally-owned.

"As sustainability and ownership of the stadium is equally important to both clubs, we are currently working with our longstanding advisers KPMG and talking to external parties.

"Our intention is to identify other investors quickly and start due diligence on the football club with the intention of making a bid in due course.

"We have made the Administrators aware of our interest and hope to explore this with them further over the days ahead.

"Wigan Warriors and Wigan Athletic are both local sporting institutions and it is our belief that this is a unique opportunity here to bring the ownership of these two great clubs together under one roof, each operating independently as before, but under a Wigan Sporting Partnership banner.

"It is envisaged that each club would retain all its training grounds, management and facilities."

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

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