Wigan Athletic deducted three points for failing to pay players leaving them on brink relegation

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Wigan Athletic have been deducted three points in the Championship table with immediate effect following the club’s failure to pay player salaries.

The EFL has charged the club with misconduct after it failed to meet agreed terms in regard to the paying of player wages for March 2023. This is the fourth time the club’s current owners, Bahrain-based Phoenix 2021 Limited, has failed to pay its staff on time since they were promoted to the second tier last year.

Wigan had previously been sanctioned for failing to pay its players in the months of June, July, and October 2022, though they remain confident the club’s “liquidity issues” will be resolved soon.

A statement from the EFL reads: “Wigan Athletic has, with immediate effect, been deducted three points from the 2022-23 Championship table after the Club failed to pay player salaries again in March 2023.

“The club had previously been charged and sanctioned for failing to adhere to the terms of the standard contracts that were in force between the club and its players in the months of June 2022, July 2022 and October 2022.

“This latest infringement by the club to meet its obligations means the terms of the agreed decision the club entered into with the EFL in January 2023 has been breached and the application of the suspended sporting sanction has been automatically triggered.

“In a further breach of the Agreed Decision, the Club’s owner has failed to deposit an amount equal to 125% of its forecast monthly wage bill in a designated Club account. This had been a key term of the Agreed Decision to help prevent the Club breaching EFL Regulations again, should there be future delays in the processing of overseas payments.

“Separately, new charges have now been issued to the Club following this latest instance of non-payment of player wages and for not complying with the Agreed Decision. The Club’s owner will also be charged with misconduct, with the matter to be referred to an Independent Disciplinary Commission.”

Wigan are currently battling to avoid relegation from the Championship. They are bottom of the table with 31 points from 38 games. The loss of three points has seen them fall further adrift and they are now eight points from safety with a crucial fixture against QPR next up in April.

Manager Shaun Maloney is flying to Bahrain during the international break and says he will seek clarity from the ownership group regarding the situation.

“I’m expecting to get some clarity really,” Maloney said. “I think it’s a necessity that we get clarity on where the club’s at in the short term.

“I think we need clarity on what’s happened and why. And then we also have to have exactly the same for the long term vision of the club, I think. But the priority has to be the answers of the players need to be paid and we need the clarity around that.

“I’m not disappointed I don’t have the clarity, I’m just disappointed or disheartened for the players. I think they’re the ones that are obviously suffering the most. So my feelings are for them really.”