Wigan Athletic Supporters Club 'unable to support Spanish at this time'

The Wigan Athletic Supporters Club say they 'remain open to continuing our dialogue with bidders' - despite being 'unable to move forward with the proposed deal at this time'.

Tuesday, 3rd November 2020, 5:41 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd November 2020, 11:00 pm
The DW Stadium

Wigan Today exclusively revealed on Tuesday afternoon that the Spanish bidders have submitted their final paperwork to the EFL - WITHOUT the backing of the Supporters Club.

One of the stumbling blocks was the Supporters Club being offered just a FOUR per cent equity stake in the company for the £870,000 they recently raised through Crowdfunding.

That would value the club on the whole at £21.75million – the Spanish have agreed a price of just £3.7million.

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In return for their investment, the Supporters Club would gain a seat on the board, and their money would be guaranteed - there would be no 'dilution' of it.

They would also not have to put in any more money, would not be liable for anything were things to go wrong, and would have the opportunity at a latest date to take the money out inclusive of two per cent interest.

Both sides say talks will remain ongoing, but the Supporters Club will require more persuasion before nailing their colours to the mast.

"Since the proposed new owners of Wigan Athletic entered their period of exclusivity with the administrators, Wigan Athletic Supporters Club has been in conversations with the bidders for a number of weeks," read a statement from the Supporters Club.

"As part of these discussions, the bidders invited the crowdfunder monies (£870,000) to be invested into the new company of AFC Wigan Athletic as part of the bidder’s purchase of the club.

"In return, the supporters would receive a four per cent equity stake in the company, a shareholders agreement, and one place on the board.

"For a number of reasons, as custodians of the supporters’ donations, we feel unable to move forward with the proposed deal at this time.

"After our publicised meeting with the EFL on Thursday, October 29, we were advised on Monday, November 2 that a final decision must be made regarding the investment by no later than 12noon on Tuesday, November 3.

"The timescales have been insufficient to enable us to investigate the outcomes of that meeting and to hold the proper discussions with our wider committee.

"We are yet to agree the details of how the funds would be accounted for (as equity, loan or by other means).

"More clarity on this is required to ensure the supporters’ monies receive fair value.

"The EFL’s due diligence process regarding the proposed new owners and their business plan is not yet complete.

"We feel supporters’ monies should only be invested once the EFL have confirmed their processes have been brought to a satisfactory outcome

"We are keen to invest the funds in order to secure equity in Wigan Athletic and a voice for the supporters.

"However, we must be sure the proposed bidders have the wherewithal to purchase and fund the operations of the club and stadium successfully independently of our funds based on acceptable financial forecasts.

"We have been assured by the bidders this is the case. However, we feel it is important that proof of sufficient funds is confirmed by the EFL prior to any supporters’ funding being committed.

"For the above reasons, we believe more reassurances are required before agreeing to invest the significant value of funds raised by the supporters.

"Although these conditions prevent any immediate agreement, we remain open to continuing our dialogue with bidders, with the aim of gaining the reassurances we need to invest and secure a positive role for the supporters in the future of our club should a bid be successful.

"Our involvement in the process is a direct result of the fundraising efforts of Latics fans and the football community across the world.

"As such, it is important to note the Supporters Club is keenly aware of our responsibility to represent the supporters, and to ensure as much transparency for the fans as is legally possible.

"We will share information whenever we are able, and we will ensure the supporters’ funds are invested correctly - and only when we can be sure beyond reasonable doubt it will be for the benefit of our football club going forward.

"To this end, throughout this process we have taken professional and legal advice, and we are also grateful to the FSA for their ongoing advice and support.

"To all Latics supporters, thank you for your patience so far. Keep the faith and we will update you further as soon as we are able to do so."

Click here to view view the proposed heads of terms in full.

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