Wigan Warriors chairman Ian Lenagan admits he had "handshake deal" with Shaun Edwards
Ian Lenagan has broken his silence on the Shaun Edwards saga - and admitted he had a "handshake" arrangement with the club legend to take over as coach in 2020.
And he has given Edwards more time to "consider his options" following talks with him this week.
Wasps have reportedly tabled an offer to Edwards, while Wales have admitted they would consider keeping him on if he is a free agent. Lenagan says he will "support" whatever decision the ex-Great Britain captain makes.
The Warriors tonight issued a statement which read: “Wigan Warriors Rugby League Club’s position is that it has an oral agreement with Shaun Edwards to become Head Coach from 2020, cemented by a handshake and announced publicly in a press conference by both parties in August 2018.“I take full responsibility for missing the mention of a signed contract in Wigan’s press release at the time of Shaun’s appointment. I have done business on many occasions on the basis of an oral agreement over a handshake. Shaun and I have known each other for a long time, have great respect for each other and share a passion for all things Wigan – of course the main focus for that being Wigan Warriors and its supporters.“Following the announcement of his appointment we agreed not to distract Shaun, at his request, in any way throughout the Six Nations. “With Wales’ emphatic victory in Cardiff at the weekend, it is understandable why their coaching team have become so desirable throughout world rugby and Shaun is obviously an integral part of that.“Rather than debating the merits and legalities of an oral or written agreement, I have had constructive dialogue with Shaun this week to make it clear that, despite our desire for him to take up the Wigan Warriors Head Coach role as agreed, we would not attempt to hold Shaun to any agreement - disputed or otherwise - if he now preferred to take up a different option.“During our conversations, Shaun asked for more time to consider his options. I agreed to his request and fully understand his reasons for doing so.“It is obvious we need to clear up this situation as quickly as possible in a dignified manner for the best interests of Wigan Warriors Rugby League club and Shaun.
"It is proving to be a difficult and emotive situation for us all to navigate, but I am determined to provide our loyal fans with the clarity they deserve once Shaun has come to his decision. We will support whatever decision he reaches.”It followed a week of intense speculation sparked with Edwards' interview after Wales' Six Nations title win, in which he said he had not signed a contract to take over Wigan in 2020 - as expected - and put himself firmly in the shop window.