THE relegation picture at the foot of the Championship table has changed markedly after Wigan Athletic were hit with a 12-point penalty for entering administration.

The Latics called in the administrators this morning, and while officials are confident they will be able to complete their fixtures in the current season, their hopes of avoiding relegation have suffered a major blow.

The EFL have confirmed that Wigan will be subject to a 12-point deduction, although the timing of the penalty will only be finalised once the final Championship table is determined.

If the club are relegated by on-field results, the sanction will be applied in League One next season.

However, if Wigan stay outside of the bottom three, the sanction will be applied to the 2019-20 table.

If the sanction was to be applied currently, the Latics, who have won six of their last seven matches, would be bottom of the table, four points adrift of safety. They would be six points adrift of Middlesbrough, who play at Hull City tomorrow.

An EFL statement said: "The EFL is awaiting formal notification from the administrators and once the league has received this it will commence discussions with the relevant individuals with the aim of achieving a long-term future for the club."

A statement released by Wigan said Paul Stanley, Gerald Krasner and Dean Watson from Begbies Traynor had been appointed as joint administrators of the club.

Krasner said: "Our immediate objectives are to ensure the club completes all its fixtures this season and to urgently find interested parties to save Wigan Athletic FC and the jobs of the people who work for the club.

"Obviously the suspension of the Championship season due to Covid-19 has had a significant impact on the recent fortunes of the club."

Krasner added: "Wigan Athletic has been a focal point and source of pride for the town since 1932 and anyone who is interested in buying this historic sporting institution should contact the joint administrators directly."

Wigan were in the Premier League as recently as 2013, winning the FA Cup in the same year.

They dropped down into League One in 2015 but made an immediate return to the Championship.

The club recorded a net loss of £9.2m in their most recent annual accounts for the year ending June 30, 2019. That was an increase of £1.5m on the previous year.

The club were owned by JJB Sports co-founder Dave Whelan until November 2018, when he and his family sold to the Hong Kong-based International Entertainment Corporation (IEC).

There was a further change of ownership on May 29 of this year, when IEC divested its ownership to Next Leader Fund.

IEC said in a letter to fans its decision came "after thorough assessment of several factors including the club's financial position, management team and objectives, particularly the promotion to the Premier League".

The letter added: "There are areas of misalignment in expectations which we feel may hinder our partnership going forward.

"Combining with the outbreak of the Covid-19 has created more uncertainty around the financial position of the EFL and the football business as a whole."