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Wigan chairman issues new statement after players hit out at ‘disrespect’ shown to them

Wigan Athletic chairman Talal Al Hammad issues a new statement after the club’s players hit out at ‘disrespect’ shown to them.

The players have finally been paid their wages, while Mal Brannigan, the chief executive at Championship strugglers, has resigned.

The Latics blamed “liquidity issues” for the payment delays this month before being docked three points from the English Football League.

On Friday, the players wrote an open letter claiming that they were “disrespected by Wigan”.

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Steven Caulker said: “This lies us as players have been told by Wigan Athletic FC is absolutely scandalous.

“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. We are told as players everyday that the money is on its way and will ‘hopefully’ reach our account by the afternoon. 14 days later, the money still hasn’t arrived.

“Furthermore, what is more concerning is that we are due to be paid again on the 7 April and the club are unable to confirm whether they will have enough funds for this.

“Since I arrived at this club I have seen the players and backroom staff work tirelessly to try keep this club in the championship. It’s really painful to now see that task become harder and harder each passing day.

“As the famous saying goes, ‘Being silent while witnessing an injustice makes you guilty of the oppression as well’. Well my position is clear, I stand with the honest hard working staff and players, whose mental health is now being affected by this.”

TALAL’S STATEMENT:

WIGAN ATHLETIC CHAIRMAN TALAL AL HAMMAD HAS WRITTEN AN OPEN LETTER TO FANS FOLLOWING THE RECENT SPECULATION SURROUNDING THE CLUB’S FUTURE.

– Players wages now been paid
– Malachy Brannigan has left the Club
– Chairman in Wigan to talk to stakeholders next week
– New strategic direction confirmed for the future

Dear Wigan Athletic Fans,

Thank you for your incredible patience. Football clubs are driven by their fans and I have seen the passion and support you have shown this Club and our players.

I am very conscious that the current uncertainty surrounding the club is not helpful and I hope this letter will add some clarity and transparency to the current situation.

Firstly, I can now confirm our players wages have been paid.

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 10 March 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.

I will be in Wigan myself next week and I will be ensuring I am out in the community, to meet as many of you as I can in that time, to help start the re-build of that trust and move forward together. I will also be happy to address any questions staff, players, fans and partners may have, in person.

I also want to inform you of a change at Board level with the news that Malachy Brannigan has left the Club.

Mal has worked tremendously hard on leading this Club as Chief Executive through some of our darkest days. On behalf of the whole board and the Club, I want to truly thank him for his dedication and commitment to Wigan Athletic.

Mal went on to help the Club achieve the prestigious Fan Engagement Award at both the prestigious Football Business Awards and the Sports Industry Awards events, before he was named as the fcbusiness CEO of the Year.

It was not, by any means, an easy decision, but Phoenix 2021 and the Club have chosen to move in a new direction and a decision on Mal’s successor will be announced in due course.

I have already admitted that mistakes have been made during my time here in my second full season as Wigan Athletic Chairman, but we now must look forward together and aim to finish the season as strong as possible with our manager Shaun Maloney at the helm.

Shaun and his staff have worked relentlessly since he was appointed and we have all seen in the last few weeks the improvement in both the team and individuals. The connection between the manager, players and fans is back and this progress is the first step in our long-term journey together. He has my and the Board’s full support.

We have already held discussions, this week, whilst in Bahrain about next season, with firm plans in place. We will continue to work together in the summer to assess the squad before adding the right quality of player to aid our aims and ambitions next season, in-line with an agreed budget to ensure sustainability of the Club.

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

At our Club, our Academy will play a crucial role in supporting the first team. We recognise the immense value of supporting our up-and-coming players through the academy system. We are wholeheartedly committed to providing opportunities for our young athletes to hone their skills and gain the experience they need to succeed.

By investing in our Academy, we believe we will be not only securing the future of our club, but also continuing to create a clear pathway for our talented young players to make it through to the first team. We are confident that this approach will be a key factor in ensuring the long-term success of our Club.

I finally want to re-assure all Wigan Athletic fans that Phoenix 2021 is 100% committed to the Club and we will do everything we can to achieve success together.

The support of our fans and the Wigan community is an incredible motivation for me. It will never be taken for granted.

Yours,

Talal Al Hammad
Chairman of Wigan Athletic

WIGAN OFFICIAL SUPPORTERS’ CLUB STATEMENT:

The Official Supporters Club welcomes the news that the full wages of all staff and players have now been paid, in line with the assurances we were given by the Chairman.

Clearly, however, all Latics supporters will remain concerned about the long term funding and management of the club.

As such our next priority is to ensure that the owners are provided with an organised platform to answer questions from the supporters in greater detail regarding the club’s finances and organisational changes. The Chairman is arranging to travel to Wigan and has pledged that this will be organised at the earliest opportunity. This is something that we will work to facilitate with the owners and board in the coming days.

We would also like to pledge our full support and thanks to Shaun Maloney and the players. You have represented the club impeccably at every stage, and we are in full support of the actions you have taken.

We remain dedicated to working on behalf of all fans of Wigan Athletic to safeguard and protect the future of our club. We will issue further updates as soon as we have them

Twitter users reacted as the Wigan chairman issues a new statement after players hit out at ‘disrespect’ shown to them…

@MarkTouhey1: @TalalAlHammad32 Delboy had cash flow problems. A business operation led by you, backed by Mr Al Jasmi should not have cash flow issues. I have no interest in meeting you in person as it will just be a PR exercise. I’d be interested to know why you sacked Mal Brannigan though?

@wafcian: Lots of fences to mend and need to show some clear plans when here to back up the words, need proof that this issue doesn’t happen again in 2 weeks time and that the funds are ready to go, not just for the fans but the players/staffs sake!

@komakino1877: Thanks honorary Wiganer Talal. Keep up the good work 💙

@rocketscase: More words from the actions speak louder than words man

@pkrasny22: think we all needed to end the week off on atleast something positive

@IanHAspinall: It’s been an absolute shitshow but we’ve got to hope the owners have learned from their mistakes and will now try to run the club sustainably. They will have to work very hard to regain everyone’s trust. I hope Shaun stays for the rebuild #wafc

@LucyLovesMJ: The statement we all needed. Thank you but don’t let it happen again. You’ve got our trust to gain back 💙⚽️

@helhaywood: Thank u Tala, now can we all move forward with positivity…. up the tics 💙@

@luc30687839: Hopefully it will be last one out turn the lights off by Sunday

@ihg1932: Heard it all before

@dominicvalletta: Getting bored of these letters @TalalAlHammad32. I’m assuming you’re going to talk about action! Ironic seeing the lack of it.We’re happy to go down fighting, players have been amazing under the circumstances, but the fans need more from this ownership. Startin to feel suspicious

@gaz_tic: Relieved the players were finally paid yesterday,but a lot of damage has been done! That’s a good letter from Talal and fair play to him for fronting up next week. BUT there’s a long road back now for this ownership group to regain faith and trust after what’s happened. #wafc

@martinxyx2: Some very short memories!! They saved us when no others were interested. Sure there’s been lots of turmoil but let’s be clear no others would step in and buy us if we were for sale. Get real, stop the negativity and back the players and the club. We’ve weathered storms before. 💙

@colingarner1: Why has it taken the players to release a statement to get paid? It’s a farce! It’s like a relationship… once the trust has gone then there is nothing.

@callumjonesy99: Still no reason for the money being late, we want answers not the same spiel every few days

@daharrison84: Whether you like it or not, We have got what we asked for. Players have been paid and a statement outlining the direction the chairman is going to take the club in. Being run with finances In mind is the right way for me, obviously some won’t be happy with what that means #wafc

@onetakegray: Shame Mal’s gone. Seemed a good egg.

@lancashire_mon: Probably feel better when I’ve heard from Maloney #wafc

@stevetannWAFC: Ambiguous and vague. No one wants war and peace-Esque writing, but some detail behind the defaults, the failures to prevent EFL sanctions, the player discontent, the preventative measures to avoid repeats going forward, all would have been nice. Still no idea what’s next #wafc

@ella_jadee_: A bit more transparency. Quite a few people have said recently that they need to completely reassess how they are going to run the club, and judging by this, they’re going to be using the academy as our main source of players. Like he’s said, they now need to act on their words.

@laticsian: And that Talal is all we as fans wanted. Clarity, vision and honesty. A bit late, but we got there in the end. This can’t happen again, and time will tell, as you start to build trust, whether this statement stands up #wafc

@lewissharples94: Very bold statement, I don’t believe Talal is at fault for any of this mess it’s those above him. Hopefully the people he meets in the community when he’s over treat him with respect and ask the correct questions. My biggest concern is it’s payday again in two weeks time #wafc

@im_martinholden: Players paid, Mal booted, other than that, the usual waffle. No further forward really. #wafc

@rimmimgton: This is the first step of many to regain our trust back. However it’s going to take a lot of work from the owners before doing so. I appreciate the honesty and acceptance of wrong doing. But to show they are committed they have to make sure this never happens again. #wafc

@Jack_Dixon97: Sounds like wage bill needs to be slashed in the summer and players brought in who are mid table/play off level in League 1. Im at peace with that long term after a mental few years, but the bullshit of not paying people until you sell an asset in Bahrain has got to stop. #wafc

@ItsLiamCooper: Nothing about what they have done to address the cash flow issues, or how they intend to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Why has Mal left? Did he decide or was he fired? Why did the 125% account not get used and is this being funded moving forward? #wafc

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