Wigan Athletic docked three points for failing to pay players’ March wages

<span>Photograph: Richard Sellers/PA</span>
Photograph: Richard Sellers/PA

Wigan are a step closer to relegation from the Championship after they were deducted three points for again failing to pay their players. The Latics are now eight points adrift of safety at the foot of the table after being sanctioned by the Football League (EFL) for not delivering the March salary to their squad.

It is the fourth instance of not paying their squad in the past nine months, having also done it in June, July and October of last year and breaches an agreement they had with the governing body in January, where they accepted a suspended penalty.

An EFL statement read: “Wigan Athletic has, with immediate effect, been deducted three points from the 2022-23 Championship table after the club failed to pay player salaries again in March 2023.

“The club had previously been charged and sanctioned for failing to adhere to the terms of the standard contracts that were in force between the club and its players in the months of June 2022, July 2022 and October 2022.

Related: Brighton snuff out Grimsby’s dream on a day brimming with FA Cup charm | Barney Ronay

“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% 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.”

  • Download the Guardian app from the iOS App Store on iPhone or the Google Play store on Android by searching for 'The Guardian'.

  • If you already have the Guardian app, make sure you’re on the most recent version.

  • In the Guardian app, tap the Menu button at the bottom right, then go to Settings (the gear icon), then Notifications.

  • Turn on sport notifications.

The penalty leaves the Latics staring at an instant return to League One, from which they won promotion last season. The Bahraini businessman Abdulrahman Al-Jasmi fronted a takeover of Wigan in 2021 after they had gone into administration in the summer of 2020.

A statement from Wigan said: “The club notes the EFL statement and charge and will issue a further update on the current wage situation in due course.”