Wigan Athletic will start next season in League One after an appeal against a points deduction that resulted in their relegation was dismissed.
The EFL imposed a 12-point penalty after the club were placed into administration by their owner, Au Yeung, four weeks after he took control.
Administrators are in talks with a potential new owner, but hopes of being able to sell a place in the Championship among the assets have been dashed.
The appeal, made by the administrators, was submitted to an independent arbitration panel on the grounds of “force majeure”, because the events occurred during the coronavirus pandemic which has upended the financial picture for many clubs.
Such an appeal was never thought likely to succeed however because Au Yeung’s takeover was completed during the Covid-19 lockdown and the owner could therefore be expected to be aware of the possible challenges. Wigan said they “put forward a strong case” and were “disappointed” by the decision.
The EFL applied the 12-point deduction after the final game of the season, which left Wigan 23rd, two points from safety. Barnsley, who escaped from the bottom three, are confirmed for next season’s Championship.
Sheffield Wednesday were also subject to a 12-point deduction last week, for issues relating to the sale of Hillsborough stadium to the owner, Dejphon Chansiri. However their deduction will be applied next season.
Had it been applied this term Wednesday would have finished bottom of the Championship and Charlton would have stayed up. Charlton have said they are considering legal action.
The EFL said it had no leeway in imposing the points deduction on Wigan this season. “In cases of insolvency, the panel does not determine the timing of the sanction as it can in independent disciplinary proceedings,” a spokesperson said.
“The EFL will continue to engage with the administrators to provide its full support in all ongoing matters with the aim of achieving a long-term future for the club.”