Lease ensures Wigan Athletic and Wigan Warriors carry on sharing DW Stadium

The DW Stadium will continue to be used by Wigan Athletic and Wigan Warriors if the takeover of Latics goes ahead.

Thursday, 8th October 2020, 5:40 pm
Updated Friday, 9th October 2020, 10:44 am
The DW Stadium

Administrators have struck a deal to sell the League One club to Spanish businessman Jose Jose Miguel Garrido Cristo.

The EFL is currently doing its due diligence, but the likely change of ownership has raised questions in some quarters about whether the current agreement - with two clubs playing at the DW - will carry on.

If the bid is successful, Latics' new chiefs would also take ownership of the stadium (either under Latics' banner or in a separate stadium company) - but Wigan Council would still be the landlord (land owner).

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And their lease agreement, granted when the DW (then-JJB) Stadium was opened in 1999, specifies there are "obligations which require the stadium to be made available to the two clubs".

Those terms remain in place even with the club's plunge into administration and any subsequent sale.

Effectively, Wigan Council could allow the existing lease to be transferred across from one party to another.

The Council confirmed the lease "contained a requirement that two sporting clubs be granted a licence for use of the stadium by the tenant."

The amount Warriors pay to play at the DW is in a separate lease agreement, from the stadium company to the Warriors.

When the DW (then JJB) Stadium opened at the end of 1999, the Super League outfit were granted a sub-lease until 2025 with terms agreed with former Latics owner Dave Whelan.

That was extended by 25 years when Ian Lenagan bought the club at the end of 2007.

It is unclear whether those same rental terms would continue, or whether negotiations would need to take place over a fresh agreement.

There is no suggestion of any disagreements from initial discussions, and not only is it in the best interest of Latics' prospective buyers to have a stable-mate sharing the financial burden of the DW - it is a legal obligation.

Wigan Council would want assurances the lease terms - that both clubs will continue at the DW - are being adhered to before allowing the lease to be assigned to Latics' new buyers, who themselves need the agreement to show the EFL they have a permanent home for the next few years.

Lenagan has not responded to a request for comment though, given his previous discussions with administrators, he may be prevented from speaking publicly because of a non-disclosure agreement.

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