Wigan Athletic will play League One football next season after losing their appeal against a 12-point deduction for going into administration, the English Football League confirmed on Tuesday The club had appealed the deduction after being placed in administration by Hong Kong owners Next Leader Fund (NLF) last month just weeks after they were sold by former Hong Kong-based owners International Entertainment Corporation (IEC). The deal was approved by both the EFL and Hong Kong stock exchange (HKEX). Wigan reportedly appealed against the deduction on the grounds of “force majeure”, following owner Au-yeung Wai-kay’s claims that he could no longer afford to fund the club based on the Covid-19 pandemic. After an hour-long delay on the expected announcement it was confirmed that the Latics will be relegated to League One next season, while Barnsley will remain in the Championship. Finger-pointing, the Philippines and EFL – what happened at Wigan? “An independent arbitration panel has ruled that Wigan Athletic’s 12-point deduction for entering administration last month will stand after dismissing the club’s appeal against the sporting sanction,” the EFL said in statement. “The insolvency event occurred on the 1 July 2020 and under EFL Regulation 12.3, the club was subject to a 12-point sanction; yet the timing of the deduction could only be determined once the final games of the season had been played. An independent Arbitration panel has ruled that @LaticsOfficial ’s 12-point deduction for entering administration last month will stand after dismissing the Club’s appeal against the sporting sanction. The decision of the Arbitration panel is final and legally binding. #EFL — EFL Communications (@EFL_Comms) August 4, 2020 “The reason for this approach was due to the administration taking place after the fourth Thursday in March. In such circumstances EFL Regulations state that, in the event a club is relegated by virtue of their final position following the conclusion of the league campaign, then the deduction would apply in the following season.” Wigan were in 13th position on the 24-team table going into the final game of the season, 10 points from relegation. The deduction kicked in on the final whistle. “As the club was not in the relegation places following the last round of Championship fixtures, the sanction was then applied to their 2019/20 total which resulted in a 23rd placed finish,” the EFL continued. Wigan triumphing over adversity but EFL has to answer “In cases of insolvency, the panel does not determine the timing of the sanction as it can in independent disciplinary proceedings. The decision of the arbitration panel is final and legally binding. “The EFL will continue to engage with the administrators to provide its full support in all ongoing matters with the aim of achieving a long-term future for the club.” The club also confirmed the news in a tweet. “The joint administrators have been informed that our appeal against our 12-point deduction has not been successful,” they wrote. Update | Wigan Athletic Appeal The joint administrators have been informed that our appeal against our 12-point deduction has not been successful. #wafc ⚪️ — Wigan Athletic (@LaticsOfficial) August 4, 2020 In a statement on the club’s official website, the joint administrators released their own statement on the verdict. “The Independent Disciplinary Commission has deliberated over the last few days on the evidence presented at Friday’s appeal against the 12-point deduction. “The Independent Disciplinary Commission has ruled that the appeal has not been successful. The club put forward a strong case and naturally we are disappointed at the decision. Why would anyone want to buy Wigan Athletic? “The first team management will now prepare the team for next season’s Sky Bet League One campaign. “No detailed reasoning behind the decision is available yet, but we will post further information at the appropriate time.” Wigan continue to seek new ownership via administrators Begbies Traynor, while several players have either been sold or are linked with moves away. First team manager Paul Cook has left the club with his former assistant Leam Richardson now in charge.