Rick Parry has been secretly filmed holding a staggering conversation with a Wigan Athletic supporter in which he repeated an astonishing claim about the stricken club’s former owner.
A clip, posted on social media, shows the EFL chairman openly discussing the goings-on at the crisis-hit Championship outfit, which was plunged into administration on Wednesday, with a man in the street.
Parry tells the supporter, who filmed the exchange and with whom Sportsmail has spoken, that there is a rumour with regards to the alleged interests of the club’s former owner and the likelihood of relegation.
The EFL acknowledged the video was legitimate, said it was a snapshot of a wider conversation and added that Parry was happy to engage.
Wigan are facing a 12-point penalty which may – in all likelihood – send them down to the third tier. They are currently in 14th place, eight points clear of the relegation zone. On a dramatic day, administrators had earlier said there was a 25 per cent chance that the 2013 FA Cup winners may be unable to fulfil their fixtures.
The fan, who did not wish to be named, said that he approached former Liverpool chief executive Parry as he lives nearby in a Cheshire village and that he felt his fellow supporters deserved answers on the goings-on at the DW Stadium.
While the device which took the video was pointed at the floor, the fan said he took the recording on public land and had not broken any laws. He added that he had tried to speak to Parry on Wednesday, when the devastating news broke, but was told to come back.
‘It was part of a much wider and impromptu discussion he was having with a Wigan supporter he does not know but who lives in the same area.
‘The private conversation focused around the events of the last 24-48 hours, how the EFL can assist and what happens next. The various rumours and reports that have been circulating throughout today were also discussed.
‘Whilst the chairman was unaware he was being filmed, he was happy to engage in the debate and appreciates this is a concerning and challenging time for all those associated with the club.’
Parry, 65, took the role last year and is a former chief executive of the Premier League. He may well now face questions over his judgement.
Earlier yesterday, administrators said there was a one in four chance Wigan may not see out the season. If they are unable to play their fixtures, the club will be in danger of folding.
Gerald Krasner, one of three administrators, said he expects to unearth an ‘incredible’ financial mess that has brought the Championship club to its knees, and he confirmed that there is no prospect of Wigan’s owners, Next Leader Fund, putting ‘one penny’ in after purchasing the club only last month.
‘If we don’t solve it and sell it, yes, it is as bad as Bury,’ Krasner said. ‘The ultimate sanction is liquidation.’
International Entertainment Corporation, fronted by professional poker player Stanley Choi, sold their stake for £17.5million last month to another Hong Kong-based company, which was majority-owned by the same man at the time of the deal.
Wages are due to be paid today, of which 30 per cent is understood to have been deferred. But Krasner could not guarantee those will be honoured. The club are thought to need in the region of £6m for ongoing costs.