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Wigan players paid overdue wages as CEO leaves

Published on: 24 March 2023

Steven Caulker posted criticism on his LinkedIn account of Wigan Athletic's ongoing failure to pay their playing staff

Wigan Athletic's playing staff have been paid their overdue wages, while chief executive Mal Brannigan has stepped down at the Championship club.

"Liquidity issues" were blamed by the club for payment delays this month, before they were docked three points by the English Football League (EFL).

The players had issued an open letter earlier on Friday saying they had been "disrespected" by Wigan.

Chairman Talal Al Hammad said late wage payment would "never happen again".

"I think it is important to be as honest and open with you as possible. As the Club statement dated 10 March stated, we had a cash flow issue which caused the delay," Al Hammad said in a letter to fans on the club's website.external-link

"This issue has now been resolved and I can assure you that the late payment of wages will not happen again. It simply cannot happen again.

"I appreciate you have heard that message from me before and as I said from day one and as you have rightly reminded me, actions speak louder than words. That is something I now must prove to you and I must rebuild trust with our players, staff and of course, you, the fans."

Prior to the club's payment of wages, the Latics' playing staff claimed the club had previously provided "inaccurate information" over when they would be paid.

Wigan's points deduction left them eight points from safety in the Championship relegation battle, with eight games to play, and their next game is against fellow strugglers Queens Park Rangers.

The Latics have also been charged with misconduct for failing to meet the terms of their agreement with the league, and will face an independent disciplinary commission on further charges.

"We're all proud to play for WAFC, and we recognise that it's been a difficult season," the players' statement said.

"We've been given inaccurate information on numerous occasions about when the outstanding wages would be paid.

"And this isn't the first time this has happened to us this season. The disrespect this shows all members of staff at the club is not acceptable, and it needs to change."

Wigan will now 'operate within their means'

Defender Steven Caulker was critical of the club's ownership in a post on his LinkedIn pageexternal-link before the announcement that players had been paid and Brannigan's departure.

Club staff had been paid last week but the players' wages, which make up the bulk of the club's outgoings, were delayed by more than two weeks.

Brannigan had flown to Bahrain last weekend to "seek clarity" from Al Hammad, along with manager Shaun Maloney, with Al Hammad's statement saying the search for his successor will now begin.

Al Hammad also said that following last weekend's meeting, the club will now bring in a new strategic direction with an emphasis on operating "within their means".

"It's important for us to be financially responsible going forward, and we're fully committed to doing so," he added.

"Beginning next season, we'll operate within our means and we will prioritise maintaining a solid financial standing. Our strategies for the upcoming transfer window and beyond will take this into account and we're determined to build a sustainable future for the club in line with a modern data-backed approach."

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