Wigan Athletic players paid after accusing owners of ‘disrespect’ over wage delay

Wigan’s players have been paid their wages after accusing the club’s owners of “disrespect” in a statement seen exclusively by Sky Sports.

The Wigan squad released a statement on Friday afternoon saying their wages “were two weeks overdue” and the delay was unacceptable.

Later in the day, it was confirmed that the players had been paid and Wigan chairman Talal Al Hammad said: “I can assure that the late payment of wages will not happen again. It simply cannot happen again.”

Sky Sports News understands the squad remain concerned about their futures at the club.

Wigan were deducted three points earlier in March for failing to pay players for the fourth time in nine months, with the club breaching an agreement they had with the EFL in January in which they accepted a suspended penalty.

A statement from Wigan’s players said: “We are all proud to play for Wigan Athletic Football Club and we recognise that it has been a difficult season for the club in terms of results and performances on the pitch.

“With a lot of speculation in the media surrounding the club off the pitch, we want to clarify the current position we find ourselves in. We haven’t been paid our wages this month and they are now two weeks overdue.

“To add to that, we have 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.

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Watch highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Watford and Wigan last weekend

“The disrespect that this shows all members of staff at the club isn’t acceptable and it needs to change. We are now closer to next month’s pay and the staff at this club need reassuring that the situation will change.

“This isn’t just about the players, this is about the financial security and wellbeing of every member of our WAFC family that work at the club.

“Finally, Wigan is a working class town that prides itself on hard work, integrity and sticking together as a community. We need the owners of the club to show this commitment and respect to the staff and the fans.

“Thank you for all your support in what is a difficult time for everyone associated with the club.”

A Wigan statement said: “I can only apologise for the delay and the stress it’s caused the players and staff involved as well as you, the fans and wider stakeholders.

“I think it is important to be as honest and open with you as possible. As the club statement dated March 10 stated, we had a cash flow issue which caused the delay.

“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.”

The Latics’ points deduction leaves them eight points adrift of safety in the Championship with just six matches left to play this season.

After hitting Wigan with the three-point penalty earlier this month, the EFL said: “This latest infringement by the club to meet its obligations means the terms of the agreed decision the club entered into with the EFL in January 2023 has been breached and the application of the suspended sporting sanction has been automatically triggered.

“In a further breach of the agreed decision, the club’s owner has failed to deposit an amount equal to 125 per cent of its forecast monthly wage bill in a designated club account.

“This had been a key term of the agreed decision to help prevent the club breaching EFL regulations again, should there be future delays in the processing of overseas payments.

“Separately, new charges have now been issued to the club following this latest instance of non-payment of player wages and for not complying with the agreed decision.

“The club’s owner will also be charged with misconduct, with the matter to be referred to an independent disciplinary commission.”

Bahraini businessman Abdulrahman Al-Jasmi fronted a takeover of Wigan in 2021 after they had gone into administration in the summer of 2020.

A Latics statement following the point deduction said: “The club notes the EFL statement and charge and will issue a further update on the current wage situation in due course.

“There may be reason for late payment once or twice but for the boys to have experienced this five times this season is completely unacceptable.”

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