STATEMENT FROM THE JOINT ADMINISTRATORS (21.09.20)
“In view of the obvious frustration by a number of fans and other interested parties regarding certain recent events at the club we wish to make the following statement and confirm certain facts.
On Sunday 13 September, social media was inundated with news that the French-Americans had made a final bid of £2 million. Despite being in constant communication with the French-Americans, no such bid was received that day. What it did do however was panic some of the very interested buyers and we spent most of Sunday afternoon on the phone with them. As a result of all the adverse publicity this generated, we can advise that one of the principal bidders backed out Monday morning and they were due that day to deposit £4 million with their lawyers on the basis of anonymity at this stage. They said that the publicity had put them off and their bid was withdrawn. It also led to other parties (who were not in the front running for bids) to make similar offers, one of which was as low as £1.5 million for all of the assets. We did in fact receive a bid of £2 million from the French-Americans as predicted on Friday 18 September at 16:25pm. What was not disclosed with this bid on social media however was the strings attached to it – namely that we had to pay the £1.3 million to creditors to avoid the 15-point penalty. This was not feasible under English law as detailed below and we went back within the hour at 17:19pm to inform them that their bid had been rejected and the reasons why. If they want to rethink the bid and remove the clause where we have to pay the £1.3 million then that will be seriously looked at by the Joint Administrators.
Amazingly, within 17 minutes of us sending the email rejecting the bid with reasons these details appeared on social media.
[I presume they mean this? - Sluffy]
Wigan. The French American group are OUT. Final offer made and rejected by admins. Not enough in there to pay ALL the bills apparently. The group also planned fan involvement and a percentage of the club. This was part of the funds for the next two years.— Alan Nixon (@reluctantnicko) September 18, 2020
We have put in writing to them that this is a complete breach of their NDA and it is for this reason after taking advice that we are going public with the reasons for turning the bid down. Under English law, before we could pay anything to the creditors we must clear the expenses of the Administration. Fans will appreciate that no income has been received and no season ticket sales have taken place. We have therefore had to pay June, July and August wages out of the player sales and these amounts included wage deferrals from early in the season plus a month’s salary at Championship rates to all players who left. As a result of this there is a considerable liability to HMRC for PAYE on wages plus the VAT on player sales. Taken together with the costs of the appeal, the loss in Administration is over £3 million which has to be paid before any dividend can be paid to the unsecured creditors. That becomes an impossibility when the actual offer is only £2 million. As we have said in the above paragraph, if this bid is remade it will be given very serious consideration.
Questions have also been raised why the asking price is still £4 million and the above is the principal reason why. Prior to the sale of the Euxton training ground the asking price was in the region of £6 million but we told all bidders they could have a £2 million discount if they preferred not to buy that training ground as part of the package and the Joint Administrators would conclude a separate sale.
Another question raised is to why we have sold so many players. The reason is that the players wage bill was over £12 million whereas for a League One club there is a wage cap £10 million lower. It was therefore necessary to offload the bulk of valuable players to reach this target and have a club that could still operate efficiently within League One. We should also point out that a number of players did not want to play in League One with the lower wage bill and requested a transfer.
Questions have also been raised about the sale of the training ground and whether it has been used to pay our fees. We will point out that this asset is in a separate limited company and the money to buy it was supplied directly from Hong Kong and not the football club. The answer to this is that since day one we have drawn no monies for any fees and have funded disbursements out of our own pocket. Apart from the legal fees for the appeal, no fees will be charged by the Joint Administrators or their lawyers to the football club. We continue to still discuss at a serious level with at least 3 bidders an offer that would allow us to do all of the above including payment of the 25p. Contracts have been sent out to the most interested parties and once one party signs the contract we shall let you know as soon as practically possible. We would also advise all fans that if they have questions to send them to Barry Worthington (firstname.lastname@example.org) who has a phone call with us every week.”
All seems rather grim to me though unless their Supporters club can some how save them - and right now they simply don't have anything like the sort of money to do so.
Why anyone else would want to buy the club with no discernible assets (the land/stadium seems to be in effect not worth much of value in the market) and no players apart from the kids contracted longer than a month / bar one who is on loan to January - in the middle of a pandemic with no obvious means of generating much if any match day income for the foreseeable future - is beyond my understanding?