Sunderland's Championship rivals hit with suspended points deduction following wage payment issues

Sunderland’s Championship rivals Wigan Athletic have been handed a three-point deduction, suspended until the end of this year.

The club’s players have been paid late three times in the current season, and so the owner will be required to place 125% of the current wage bill into an account in case of future problems with process payments.

Wigan Athletic reached an ‘agreed decision’ with the EFL, and the sentence being ‘suspended’ means it will only be applied in the case of further offence before the end of 2023.

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Kolo Toure’s side currently sit bottom of the Championship but are believed to be on the brink of completing an ambitious loan deal for Leeds United striker Joe Geldhart, their former academy product, as they bid to climb away from the relegation zone in the second half of the season.

Ellis Simms scores at the DW Stadium earlier this season

An EFL statement said: “Wigan Athletic has received a three-point deduction to be suspended until 31 December 2023 after admitting to multiple breaches of EFL Regulations.

“The sanction imposed is for failing to adhere to the terms of the Standard Contracts that were in force between the Club and its Players for the late payment of player wages on three separate occasions.

“In addition, the Club’s owner will also be required to deposit an amount equal to 125% of the forecast monthly wage bill in a designated Club account, which may be called upon by the Club should there be any future delays in processing payments.

“The Club will also be required to report on the operation of the account and to maintain it at appropriate levels until 31 December 2023.

“The sanctions have been agreed by the Club in accordance with the terms of an ‘Agreed Decision’ which have formally been ratified by an Independent Disciplinary Commission Chair as per the requirements of EFL Regulations with the Club also paying associated costs.”

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Wigan are the second team in the Championship to be handed a suspended points deduction this season. Coventry City currently have a five-point deduction suspended after postponing three home fixtures earlier this season due to problems with their stadium.