Whelan's Premier warning
Wigan chairman Dave Whelan has claimed a number of Premier League clubs could go under if their overseas backers decide to withdraw their support. The Latics boss has revealed he plans to make the North West club debt-free over the next 18 months but has hit out at some of the top-flight's biggest names for the manner in which they are run. Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City are all controlled by groups or individuals from outside the UK, and Whelan claims the future would be bleak should their owners elect to walk away. He said: "It is my intention to get this club debt-free and I would encourage every other Premier League club to do the same if they can. "There are teams in there that owe three-quarters of a billion pounds. I don't think it is right we have football clubs owing that kind of money. "We have debts of about £15million now and I'm going to see if I can get that down to zero over the next 12 to 18 months. It is not easy but I need the support of Wigan people to do it. "In the Premier League at the moment there are a lot of foreign people who have put loans into football clubs," he added. "If you have a loan in a football club and that person decides to leave he wants his loan back - that makes that club bankrupt. "It is the same at Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool. There are a lot of clubs with a lot of debt as a loan instead of it being equity and shares in the company. They (the owners) can walk away but if they have shares in the company they have to sell shares and it doesn't affect the club. "What has happened for the last four or five years - with Manchester City being the latest - is foreign people have come in and poured in money in the form of a loan. "If they sell that club or get fed up and walk away how are they going to get their money? They're going to put the club into receivership. That is what worries me about the Premier League most of all at the moment." Meanwhile, Whelan announced that from next season the Latics' home would be renamed the DW Stadium. The Wigan chairman's new venture - DW Sports Fitness.com - has bought the nationwide chain of fitness clubs from his former company JJB Sports and has also taken over the naming rights for the stadium. "The contract for naming rights for the stadium was for a duration of 10 years and that date comes around in August," said Whelan. "The JJB Stadium has made the town of Wigan known all over the world and we can now look forward to a whole new era as the DW Stadium." Wigan have also announced a freeze on season ticket prices for next season - their fifth in the Premier League - with the cheapest adult package costing just £250.
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