Wigan Warriors report heavy losses in 2021 accounts

WIGAN WARRIORS have reported an operating loss of £1,757,809 for the year ending 30 November 2021 in their annual report and accounts that have now been lodged with Companies House.

That figure contrasts with an operating loss of £442,595 in the year ending 30 November 2020, after both profit figures were adversely affected by the Covid pandemic, with significant elements of each season being impacted by government regulations that forced games to be played behind closed doors or in front of restricted attendances.

“As the company’s operations continued throughout 2021, the availability of Covid-19 related government support was significantly reduced (in particular the Job Retention Scheme), and as a result the ability to utilise this support to mitigate the reduction in revenue was significantly reduced,” says the report.

“As a consequence, the company made a much greater operating loss in 2021 than in 2020. While this has been challenging, the losses have been managed through utilisation of loan funding from the UK Government and from Lenagan Investments Limited.”

Lenagan Investments Limited is the group holding company that is owned and operated by Wigan Chairman Ian Lenagan and members of his family.

As of 30 November 2021, the club owed £9,353,339 to creditors that was due within one year, while it owed another £2,004,680 to creditors over a period of more than one year. Of those amounts, £6,250,192 is owed to Lenagan Investments Limited. That loan is secured by a debenture, but has no fixed repayment date and any interest accruing for the year in question was waived.

In analysing its revenues for the year, the club has revealed that only 16 per cent of its total income of £4,672,472 came from matchday revenues, compared to 34 per cent in 2019, the last year not to be affected by Covid. Broadcasting revenues and prize money made up 43 per cent of the club’s total income, compared with 32 per cent two years earlier.

In order to cover its losses, the club took out new loans of £1,024,681 for the year and received loan funding of £283,104 from Lenagan Investments Limited.

Wages and salaries totalled £4,187,505 for the year, up from £4,034,754 the previous year, while the number of employees classified as playing and coaching staff fell from 75 to 71, with administrative staff falling from 38 to 21. Directors’ remuneration was £105,549.

The report reveals that the company borrowed £980,000 in August 2020 followed by a further £1,025,000 in June 2021 from the government’s aid to sporting organisations following the pandemic. Repayments are not expected to begin until 2023.

The financial results for the year ending 30 November 2022 are likely to show significant improvement because of the complete lifting of restrictions on crowd figures.

Meanwhile the Warriors have released a statement following the administration of the club’s kit distributor Elite Sports, which distributes the Hummel brand around the UK.

Following that company’s administration, a significant amount of Wigan’s retail stock is currently still in its possession with Wigan unable to access it immediately.

The Wigan statement said: “Elite Sports is a UK distributor of the Hummel brand. Last week, Elite Sports entered into administration.

“A large portion of our retail stock and players training clothing has been retained at the port in the UK until the administrators navigate a way forward.

“We are working around the clock to attempt to get stock in our store before Christmas but this very much out of our control at this stage.

“We will communicate this to our fans once we have a clear way forward.

“We ask that you remain calm and respectful to our retail staff at this difficult time.”