There’s an old saying that life comes at you fast, and that couldn’t be more apt for former FA Cup winners, Wigan Athletic.
Back in 2013 under Roberto Martinez and owner, Dave Whelan, the club shocked English football when they downed Manchester City in the Wembley showpiece, substitute Ben Watson scoring the winner in injury time.
Just 10 years later, Wigan have been relegated to League One and have also been deducted four points – which could rise to eight – for non-payment of wages.
Shaun Maloney’s side ended the 2022/23 season on 39 points, having won just 10 games, drawing 15 and losing 21 per BBC Sport.
With consistent non-payment of salaries becoming a real problem for the club, Wigan’s first-team could be looking a whole lot different at the start of 2023/24 than it does at present.
‘Wigan Athletic will be deducted four points from the 2023/24 Sky Bet League One table after failing to pay its players’ wages on time in May 2023 and further to previous breaches of EFL Regulations,’ a statement from the EFL read.
‘The sanction will be applied at the start of the new league campaign with the Club also receiving an additional four-point deduction for season 2023/24, which is to be suspended until 30 June 2024.
‘That sanction will come into effect if the Club’s owner, Mr Abdulrahman Al Jasmi, fails to deposit an amount equal to 125% of the Club’s forecast monthly wage bill in a designated Club account, a key term of the Agreed Decision reached between the EFL and the Club in January, by Wednesday 24 May 2023.
‘The suspended deduction will also be activated if the Club fails to pay its players on time between now and the end of June 2024.
‘In addition, the Club has also had a further three points deducted from its 2022/23 Championship total for the late payment of players’ wages in March 2023 resulting in their final total being 39 points.
‘Mr Al Jasmi was also charged with Misconduct and fined £10,000 for failing to comply with the terms of the Agreed Decision.
‘Both Mr Al Jasmi and the Club have accepted the sanctions, which have been ratified by an independent Disciplinary Commission, and have agreed to pay all associated costs.
‘In January, the Club was charged with Misconduct after it paid its players late on three occasions in June, July and October 2022. Accordingly, it was sanctioned with a suspended three-point deduction and entered an Agreed Decision with the League.
‘The suspended sanction was activated in March when the Club failed to meet its contractual obligations with its players and breached the terms of the Agreed Decision when Mr Al Jasmi failed to deposit 125% of the Club’s forecast of its monthly wage bill into a designated account.’
Like a number of other clubs in recent years, Wigan appear to have been used as an owners plaything, without consideration of what the club means to the community, the staff and the players.
Given that they’ll almost certainly have to shed players to trim the wage bill in any event, one can assume that the club won’t get back up the divisions in a timely fashion.
Indeed, the chances of Wigan dropping further down the pyramid as others have done before them seems more than likely.
It’s seems to be another example of the EFL not doing their due diligence on unscrupulous owners.
Owners that, frankly, should be nowhere near a football club and should be ashamed of themselves.