Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan resigns after 20 years

Tuesday March 3rd, 2015

Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan resigned on Tuesday after 20 years at the position, the club announced.

Whelan, 78, will stay on as owner of the team, with his 23-year-old grandson David Sharpe, assuming daily control of the club. The Whelan family will remain as majority shareholders of Wigan Athletic.

"The time has now come to hand over the reins,” Whelan said in a statement. "I am approaching 80 years old and spend an increasingly long time abroad, and cannot make it to games. It is a decision I have been mulling over for some years and I believe David is now ready."

He took over the club in February 1995.

Whelan was banned from football-related activity for six weeks and fined £50,000 ($78,000), in December after accepting the English Football Association’s charge of racially-aggravated misconduct, when he was accused of making racist and anti-Semitic comments in a newspaper article.

Whelan denied the remarks were racist and said he would resign as Wigan chairman if he was "found guilty of being a racist.”

“In making this announcement, I would like to say huge thank you to the Board of Directors, all the staff at the club, and of course the wonderful supporters of Wigan Athletic, who have helped make the journey over the past 20 years such an exciting and memorable one,” Whelan said.

Wigan, which was relegated from the Premier League after the 2012-13 season, is 23rd of out 24 teams in the second-tier Football League Championship. The club has 28 points with 12 league games remaining in the season and is battling to avoid relegation to League One.

- Scooby Axson

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