Wigan’s relegation to League One has been confirmed after they lost their appeal against a 12-point deduction for going into administration.
Wigan appealed against the punishment on the grounds of ‘force majeure’.
But an independent arbitration panel ruled against them, meaning Barnsley will stay in the Championship.
The Latics went into administration on 1 July when their new Hong Kong-based owners conceded they could not support the club financially.
Force majeure events are usually defined as certain acts, events or circumstances beyond the control of the involved parties, such as natural disasters, war or a pandemic.
The timing of Wigan going into administration meant that their penalty was applied following their 1-1 draw with Fulham on the final day of the season.
Without the punishment the Latics would have finished 13th in the table, but once the points were deducted they ended up second-from-bottom.
Wigan said: “The club put forward a strong case and naturally we are disappointed at the decision. The first-team management will now prepare the team for next season’s League One campaign.”
In a statement, the English Football League added: “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.”
How did the Latics get here?
4 June: A takeover of Wigan Athletic by Next Leader Fund is completed. The limited partnership is headed by Hong Kong businessman Au Yeung Wai Kay. Au Yeung says he is “excited to join the Wigan Athletic family” and looks forward to supporting the club “in what is going to be an initially challenging period”.
1 July: The Latics enter administration, becoming the first English professional club to do so since the coronavirus pandemic began, and the EFL say the club are to be deduced 12 points. The sanction is to be applied to 2019-20’s league table if Wigan finish outside the bottom three after their regulation 46 league games.
7 July: Administrator Gerald Krasner says the club have appealed against their 12-point deduction.
14 July: Wigan record a stunning 8-0 win over Hull City, moving 12 points clear of the drop zone in the table, prior to any points deduction, boosting their survival hopes.
18 July: Paul Cook’s side concede a stoppage-time equaliser in a 2-2 draw away at relegation rivals Charlton, in the penultimate game of the campaign, damaging their chances of escaping the drop.
22 July: The Latics draw 1-1 with promotion-chasing Fulham on the final day of the Championship season and the result is not enough to prevent them from dropping in to the relegation zone at full-time when their 12-point penalty is applied. They slip from 13th to 23rd, two points from safety.
1 August: Manager Cook resigns from his position “with a heavy heart”.
4 August: Wigan’s relegation is confirmed after their appeal against their 12-point deduction is dismissed.
More to follow.