DW Stadium sale ruled out by Wigan Athletic administrators

Administrators for Wigan Athletic have ruled out the prospect of the DW Stadium being sold separately to the English Football League club.

Reports have suggested that Ian Lenargan, the chairman and majority owner of Super League team Wigan Warriors, wants to purchase the 25,000-capacity arena that his team shares with the League One club who went into administration at the start of July.

Joint administrators from Begbies Traynor gave a press conference on Thursday in which they gave an update on their search for a buyer for the club as well as the stadium, its two training grounds and other commercial properties.

Administrator Gerald Krasner confirmed an approach had been made about the properties as a separate entity, but ruled out breaking up the club and its assets.

Krasner said: “We’re not selling the stadium as things stand as a one-off item.

“Without naming anyone, because of the non-disclosure agreements, I had an approach to buy all the properties but not the club.

“I also had an approach to buy the properties split between two parties, with one buying the club.

“That collapsed quickly. There’s been an offer for just the properties, which I will reject.”

The 25,000-seat DW Stadium is majority owned and operated by the football club, with Warriors a tenant at the facility since 1999.

Back in July, Warriors stated their interest in acquiring the football club and its assets, citing “sustainability and ownership” of the DW Stadium as a key reason behind their proposal.

Lenagan, Warriors chief executive Gary Speakman and Darryl Eales, former chairman of League One football club Oxford United, were seeking to bring both clubs under a ‘Wigan Sporting Partnership’ banner. The move was backed by Wigan Council, which owns the freehold to the land on which DW Stadium sits.

Athletic were placed into administration just weeks after a change of ownership under its Hong Kong backers, becoming the first football club to do so following the COVID-19 outbreak. A subsequent 12-point penalty imposed under EFL rules ultimately led to their relegation from the Championship to League One at the end of the 2020-21 season.

Image: Wigan Athletic