Wigan's Powerleague site survives closure threat

Wigan Soccerdome
Wigan Soccerdome

A Wigan five-a-side football centre has escaped the chop as its struggling tenant tries to make drastic savings.

Powerleague is to axe more than 100 jobs under plans to shut sites as part of a rescue deal.

The group, owned by Patron Capital Partners, is set to close 13 sites after creditors and shareholders voted through its Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) - a controversial insolvency procedure used by struggling firms to close under-performing units.

The outlet at Robin Park - whose premises are owned by Dave Whelan - is not on the list though.

The closures are likely to lead to the loss of 109 jobs and affected staff have been informed.

But Powerleague expects to keep the sites earmarked for closure open until at least the end of January.

Powerleague said the move was its “last chance” to rescue the company, adding that it would go bust without the restructuring.

It follows three years of declining revenues and failed attempts to raise sufficient funds to meet lease obligations.

Christian Rose, chief executive of Powerleague, said: “Today’s positive news means we are one step closer to restructuring Powerleague with the necessary investment.

“It is clearly a very difficult time for those whose jobs are affected and we will continue to offer them our support.”

“The CVA is our last chance to rescue the company, and I am absolutely committed to our long-term turnaround plan,” he added.

It was revealed earlier this month that Latics owner Whelan - who also used to own JJB Sports - owns three of the sites that are either earmarked for closure or will have their rental terms changed as part of Powerleague’s CVA.

Powerleague boasts more than 440 pitches across 49 sites in the UK, Ireland and the Netherlands and directly employs over 580 people, as well as contracts with sports coaches and referees.

Deloitte is handling the CVA, which needed the backing of 75% of creditors, including landlords, to be given the green light.

Following the CVA’s approval, Mr Rose will now oversee a “long-term business plan” with new capital investment provided through Patron Capital and its partners.

Mr Rose and chief financial officer Mike Evans joined Powerleague in September from All Star Lanes, where they led a successful restructuring plan.

Mr Rose has also worked on turnarounds for gin maker G&J Greenall and the Chicago Rock Cafe chain.

The Powerleague clubs identified for closure under the CVA proposal are:

Finchley, London

Sheffield

Kilmarnock

Shrewsbury

Yardley, Birmingham

Leeds Central

Leeds East (Football World)

Leeds North

Halesowen

Hamilton

Manchester South

Basingstoke

Teeside