EFL chairman left ‘stunned’ by news of Wigan going into administration, rejects owner’s claim that COVID-19 was reason for financial demise

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EFL chairman Rick Parry secretly filmed telling Wigan Athletic fan that administration was 'linked with bet in Philippines'

EFL chairman Rick Parry has told talkSPORT that he was ‘stunned’ upon receiving the news that Wigan had gone into administration last week.

The Latics became the first club since the coronavirus pandemic to enter administration, leaving them facing a 12-point deduction.

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Parry joined talkSPORT on Wednesday to give his reaction to the news that Wigan have gone into administration

The club were sold from one Hong Kong-based business for a reported £40million. Until recently they were both owned by the same person, businessman Dr Choi Chiu Fai Stanley.

Chinese businessman, Au Yeung Wai Kay, recently replaced Dr Choi as majority shareholder of Next Leader Fund, who took over control of the club from International Entertainment Corporation (IEC).

Speaking on Tuesday, Hong Kong-based Au Yeung said he took over the club ‘with the best intensions’ of leading the Latics back to the Premier League, but said the COVID-19 crisis had ‘fundamentally undermined’ his ability to fund the club.

Parry, though, rubbished those claims on Wednesday’s White & Sawyer show and revealed that the EFL will be launching their own investigation into the matter.

“We found out from the people at the club the day before the announcement,” he told talkSPORT.

The Latics face a 12-point deduction following the news

Getty Images

The Latics face a 12-point deduction following the news

“I think ‘stunned’ would be the word, it was completely out of the blue. It frankly made no sense, and it still makes no sense.

“Why you would spend £40million acquiring a club and put it straight into administration, it just doesn’t stack up.

“The team was clearly playing well, they’ve got a good squad, good young players, saleable assets, money to come in from the Premier League.

“The timing of it just doesn’t make any kind of sense at all to me. It was a complete bolt from the blue.”

He continued: “We are in regular contact with the administrators and that dialogue will continue.

“But we are launching our own investigation to find out exactly what has gone on. Clearly that is not being helped by them not being here, they’re a long way away.

“Which of course raises the question of foreign and absentee owners. We are obviously communicating on a regular basis with the administrators, who have access to far more information than we have.

“But this is certainly something we need to get to the bottom of, because what they’ve done to the club and the fans – and indeed to the integrity of the Championship – is unacceptable and unprecedented.

“To then make a statement and say this was caused by the COVID-19 crisis, well I think we were well through the crisis before the takeover went through, so that doesn’t stack up either.”

Roberto Martinez on Wigan’s demise

Once more the EFL’s fit and proper person test has come under increased scrutiny, with Parry conceding that while things could be improved more stringent measures may not suit many EFL clubs.

“Can it be improved? Yes. But you’ve got to consider all the practical balances to that,” he explained.

“The challenges that our clubs face have been unprecedented and I’ve been saying this for a while.

“Our clubs are predominantly owner funded, with £400m going into them each year. That equates to around £16m per club in the Championship.

“We have got clubs that have been run sensibly and prudently for decades. They have survived by selling their best players and working within their means.”

Discussing the latest EFL’s requirements to secure ownership of a club, Parry added: “They have to prove they have the wear with all, but at the moment they don’t have to put the cash in at the start of the year.

“That might be a genuine hurdle for some of those clubs who can’t do that for example. They are no simple answers to these questions and this is a complex situation.

“We verified that he had the necessary requirements to move forward [Au Yeung Wai Kay], but what we can’t legislate for is people changing their minds.


“Change is necessary because it would be in the interests of the competition and when the competition they suffer as a result.

“But the board can’t unilaterally create their own rules, but we do need to address this again.”

When pressed by Jim White on when we can expect a change to the testing, he remarked: “We’re not committing to a date as we working on all sorts of fronts at the minute, be that short, medium and long-term.

“Our biggest focus has been getting the games back on, but it is a priority and we are conscious of it.”

Parry was also quizzed about secret footage of him suggesting Wigan’s administration could be linked to ‘a bet in the Philippines on them being relegated’.

“That was a line of gossip at the end of a conversation, that wasn’t suppose to be serious information,” he claimed.

“You live and learn, but maybe you just don’t talk to supporters now then. I’d rather not do that, but that sort of thing shouldn’t happen.”

Former Man City winger Sinclair believes Parry acted unprofessionally in the exchange where he was secretly recorded

ANDREW YATES/AFP/Getty Images

Former Man City winger Sinclair believes Parry acted unprofessionally in the exchange where he was secretly recorded

White ended by asking Parry that if the worst-case scenario arose, and Wigan were liquidated, would the EFL take full responsibility for the club’s demise.

“We all have to take responsibility, it would be a collective responsibility,” he responded.

“We have to save the club and make sure there is a future for Wigan. It would be devastating if we weren’t able to do that.”

Former Manchester City winger Trevor Sinclair gave his reaction to the interview immediately after on air, claiming Parry was ‘very unprofessional’ speaking so candidly to supporters about sensitive topics.

“If Rick Parry is talking like that to fans, on and off the record, then it’s very unprofessional. It shouldn’t have happened in the first place.”

On Wigan’s demise, Sinclair added: “It’s an international scandal. The whole thing is unacceptable and disgraceful. Wigan have a 90-year-history and have worked hard to get the status that they have.

“They were on a good run before the pandemic struck, and they’ve invested in their squad, too. So for that to go out of the window and the club get put into straight into administration is just incredible.

“But until some of the fundamental ways that football clubs are run change, then I can this sort of thing happening time and time again.”





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