Wigan Athletic currently have a 75 per cent chance of surviving long enough to finish the season, according to administrator Gerald Krasner, after the Championship club entered insolvency measures on Wednesday.
The Latics’ troubles come less than a month after the completion of a takeover by the Next Leader Fund (NLF) which took the reins from another Hong Kong consortium International Entertainment Corporation (IEC).
Wigan face a 12-point deduction from the EFL for being unable to pay off outstanding debts, though when that sanction will apply will depend upon where Paul Cook’s side finish in the league table.
Krasner – along with his associates Paul Stanley and Dean Watson of insolvency firm Begbies Traynor – was appointed as a joint administrator of the club on Wednesday and said he has been contacted by 12 prospective buyers already, with up to 30 expected in total.
The administrators are seeking potential buyers with funds “of a minimum of £10m”, Krasner said at a press conference on Thursday morning, but debts of £3-4m to football creditors must be paid off before any sale can be completed.
“The chances [of Wigan finishing the season] are 75 per cent plus in my opinion but that could rise fairly quickly,” he added.
“Where there is a problem, find a way round it. I think, given a fair wind and some support, we’ve a good chance of saving this club. There are no guarantees in football or administration. I’m optimistic a buyer will be found. We’ve got to get through July.”
Though Wigan have been widely described as professional English football’s first victim to the coronavirus pandemic, Krasner believes that it is too simplistic to link the pandemic with the club’s predicament.
“Coronavirus doesn’t help, and whether that made the owners decision not to put money in, I don’t know, but I don’t blame this entirely on the coronavirus,” he said. ”I think it’s just an element of the problem.”
But Krasner also warned that Wigan are likely to be the first of many professional clubs that will enter administration over the coming months, due to the lack of income caused by behind closed doors in the Championship and the suspension of the season in League One and League Two.
“Everything we thought has gone out the window," he said. "It’s my personal view that there are number of clubs in lower divisions that may not survive by coming back and possibly at least one more Championship club that may seriously think of doing the same.”
Wigan are currently 14th in the Championship table with six games left to play, having appeared to have eased their relegation fears by winning all three of their games since the restart, but a 12-point deduction would leave Cook's side bottom of the table as it stands.