June 4, 2020 / 1:22 PM / a month ago

Soccer-Wigan takeover completed - club statement

June 4 (Reuters) - Wigan Athletic have been taken over by a partnership headed by Hong Kong businessman Au Yeung Wai Kay, the Championship (second-tier) club said on Thursday.

The sale marks the second time the club’s ownership has changed hands in the last two years after Hong Kong-based International Entertainment Corporation took over the club from the Whelan family in November 2018.

"We can confirm that the sale of the majority shareholdings of the Wigan Athletic Group from International Entertainment Corporation (IEC) to Next Leader Fund L.P. has now formally completed," the club said in a statement here

“The transaction has been formally ratified and approved by the shareholders of IEC, the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the EFL (English Football League).

“Next Leader Fund L.P. is a limited partnership and Mr. Au Yeung Wai Kay is the General Partner of the limited partnership.”

The Next Leader Fund was established on Jan. 30 this year, according to an IEC statement on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

The IEC said Au Yeung has experience in “business operations management” having worked in commodity and real estate investment management in Asia and also operated an amateur football team for more than 15 years.

The club said Kevin Roberts, Dr Michelle Chen, Chi Wai Lee, Wing Lam Leung and Cheung Tat Man have stepped down from the board of directors while Au Yeung will be on the board.

Wigan were 20th in the standings, two points above the relegation zone, when the season was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The league is set to resume on June 20, subject to government guidelines being met.

The club spent eight seasons in the Premier League before they were relegated in 2013, the same year they won the FA Cup. (Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru Editing by Toby Davis)

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