EFL

Coronavirus: Wigan in administration, COVID-19 cited as key factor

By Sports Desk July 01, 2020

Championship club Wigan Athletic have gone into administration, with the impact of coronavirus cited as a "significant" factor.

The English Football League confirmed a 12-point deduction will be imposed, though it will only apply this season if the Latics finish outside the bottom three.

Wigan, who lifted the FA Cup in 2013 in the same season they were relegated from the Premier League, are 14th and have won six of their last seven games.

Gerald Krasner, Paul Stanley and Dean Watson of Begbies Traynor have been appointed as joint administrators.

"Obviously the suspension of the Championship season due to COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the recent fortunes of the club," Krasner said in a statement.

Long-time owner Dave Whelan sold the club in 2018 and it changed hands again in May this year, with Next Leader Fund taking control.

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    Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon warned the entire SPFL season was at risk after two Celtic fixtures were postponed following a breach of coronavirus restrictions. 

    Boli Bolingoli travelled to Spain without Celtic's knowledge and did not follow quarantine rules upon his return, going on to play in the 1-1 draw against Kilmarnock on Sunday. 

    Celtic condemned the Belgian's "stupidity", apologising to the league for his "irresponsible action" in a strongly worded statement. 

    Neil Lennon's team had been due to play St Mirren on Wednesday and Aberdeen on Saturday, but those games – along with Aberdeen's midweek clash with Hamilton Academical – will not now take place. 

    Before the SPFL confirmed the cancellations, Sturgeon said: "I don't want the season to be in jeopardy. But we have to be very clear this situation is not acceptable. 

    "You should not be expecting to see Aberdeen or Celtic play over the course of the coming week. Consider today the yellow card. The next time it will be the red card because you will leave us with absolutely no choice." 

    Bolingoli's blunder came after two Aberdeen players tested positive for coronavirus, with eight players from the Pittodrie club issuing an apology for breaking guidelines after visiting a bar following their opening-weekend defeat to Rangers.  

    Sturgeon has been left furious by the footballers' conduct and said in her daily briefing on Tuesday: "What I regret is that some football players seem incapable of living up to their responsibilities." 

    She added: "This is just not acceptable. Every day I'm asking members of the public to make huge sacrifices in how they live their lives and the vast majority of members of public are doing that and it's not easy. 

    "We can't have privileged football players deciding they're not going to bother. This can't go on." 

    Celtic did not hold back in their condemnation of Bolingoli, who has tested negative for COVID-19.  

    A club statement read: "It is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible action in current circumstances and we find it beyond explanation. The club will take immediate action through our own disciplinary procedures. 

    "All of our playing and backroom staff have been tested twice for COVID-19 since this incident and all, including the player in question, have tested negative. While this comes as a relief to all concerned, it in no way diminishes the seriousness or stupidity of the player's actions." 

    Bolingoli said: "I am guilty of a major error of judgement. I know what I did was wrong and I know that I must now deal with the consequences."

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    Celtic have blasted Boli Bolingoli's "stupidity" and apologised to the SPFL for his "irresponsible action" after the player breached quarantine restrictions. 

    Bolingoli travelled to Spain without the club's knowledge and did not follow quarantine rules when returning from the country. 

    He then featured in Celtic's 1-1 draw against Kilmarnock on Sunday, with his indiscretion coming after two Aberdeen players had tested positive for coronavirus. 

    Eight Aberdeen players issued an apology having broken guidelines by visiting a bar in the aftermath of their opening-weekend defeat to Rangers. 

    The Scottish government threatened to pause the Scottish Premiership season and Celtic did not hold back in their condemnation of Bolingoli, who the club said has tested negative for COVID-19. 

    "Celtic Football Club unreservedly condemns and apologises for the behaviour of the player Boli Bolingoli in travelling to Spain without informing the club and in failing to observe quarantine restrictions," a statement from the club read. 

    "It is difficult to imagine a more irresponsible action in current circumstances and we find it beyond explanation. The club will take immediate action through our own disciplinary procedures. 

    "Celtic are in touch with every SPFL club, and with all relevant authorities, to apologise for the fact that one of our employees has created so much additional difficulty through his actions. 

    "All of our playing and backroom staff have been tested twice for COVID-19 since this incident and all, including the player in question, have tested negative. While this comes as a relief to all concerned, it in no way diminishes the seriousness or stupidity of the player's actions. 

    "Since the COVID -19 crisis began, we have had a safe and healthy squad of players, recording not one positive test. As a club, we have worked tirelessly to ensure a sustained, safe environment for all.    

    "We have led the way in working with the football authorities and Scottish Government to establish the most rigorous, effective protocols and working practices, which ultimately led to the resumption of football. We could have done no more in this area. 

    "It is a matter of the deepest regret to us that the behaviour of one individual has jeopardised that reputation and reflected discredit on football more generally." 

    Bolingoli apologised for his error, saying: "I have made a huge mistake. I want to apologise to my manager, my team-mates, the supporters, everyone at Celtic and so many others for letting them down so badly. 

    "I am guilty of a major error of judgement. I know what I did was wrong and I know that I must now deal with the consequences." 

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    Stroman had been recovering from a calf injury and was in contention to make his season debut against the Miami Marlins next week.

    But the 2019 All-Star decided against competing this year as he highlighted concerns with travelling to COVID-19 hotspots like Miami, where the Marlins were the subject of an outbreak.

    "Obviously, you see the [St Louis] Cardinals, the Marlins, you see spikes everywhere in the country, you see protocols not being handled properly from citizens everywhere,'' Stroman said during a Zoom call on Monday, following team-mate Yoenis Cespedes in opting out.

    "You see us going to Florida soon. That was a big discussion I had with my family. Going to see the Marlins soon, that's something I don't want to be in that situation.''

    Stroman, who is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, added: "This was a decision I had to kind of take myself out of it and look out for the best interests of my family."

    The 29-year-old – a Gold Glove Award winner in 2017 – joined the Mets from the Toronto Blue Jays in 2019.

    Stroman had an ERA of 3.77 from 11 games following his arrival in New York, tallying 60 strikeouts from 1,027 pitches.

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