How transfer fees are helping Wigan Athletic to survive

Latics have been given the green light by the EFL to use transfer fees to keep the club going.

Thursday, 13th August 2020, 8:31 am
Updated Thursday, 13th August 2020, 8:34 am
Joe Gelhardt signed for Leeds United this week. Picture: Leeds United

Administrators who have taken control of the club met with officials from the governing body late last week.

They sought assurances they could use any money paid for players to help the club survive until a buyer for the club is found and in place.

It meant, for example, the fee paid by Leeds United for Joe Gelhardt – thought to be £1m – could go towards players’ wages as a priority, rather than go into the pot for creditors’ debts.

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Paul Stanley, one of the co-administrators, said: “We had a meeting with the EFL on Friday and they were really supportive in terms of allowing funds from player sales to take immediate cash flow problems away.”

The fee for Gelhardt covered July's wage-bill for the players. The 18-year-old was highly sought-after even before Latics went into administration, and suffered a subsequent relegation.

But it's little surprise that Kieffer Moore and Antonee Robinson have been the latest players linked with exits - and not just because of their stock as players.

Like any club exiting administrations, Latics must clear all of their football creditors’ debts.

And that includes any outstanding transfer fees – even if previous installments had been arranged.

Administrators give update on sale of clubRobinson has been linked with a £2m move to Premier League side Sheffield United. Latics, though, would need to use some of that fee to pay the rest of the transfer fee which they owe Robinson’s former club, Everton – believed to be in the region £500,000.

And the club still owe around £1.5m to Barnsley for Moore and £750,000 to Portsmouth for Jamal Lowe.

It is understood they also owe money to Everton (for Joe Williams) and Rangers (for Josh Windass).

If those players moved on, it would massively reduce the football creditors' debt. Ideally, given the circumstances, Latics would sell those players for more than they owe their previous clubs - so any excess money can go towards the upkeep of the club during this period in limbo without an owner.

As well as transfer fees, football creditors’ debts include any unpaid players wages and agents fees.

Any new owner would need to clear those in full before bringing Latics out of administration. The administrators - who have been in control of the club's affairs since July 1 - will also be paid for their work, before any remaining goes towards paying non-football creditors.

If they don't receive at least 25p in the £, Latics will incur a 15 point penalty.

While the sale of Gelhardt funded players' wages, money raised by fans paid the July wages for office and stadium staff.

The fund set-up by the official supporters' club has already topped the £190,000 mark and they are hoping to reach £200,000 to potentially cover August wages, too.

They had previously used money raised to pay for hotel stays and travel so Latics could complete their Championship campaign. Meanwhile, volunteers with the supporters' club have sent their best wishes to long-serving treasurer Roy Highton, who has fallen ill.