MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) - The final-day drama in England’s second-tier Championship involved several clubs making late escapes from the threat of relegation but despite the tears of joy and pain, there may yet be a final twist to the season.
The clubs in the bottom five places in the Championship with six games remaining remarkably all survived — Barnsley were in the relegation zone for 10 months, before getting out with one minute of the season left thanks to a late winner at third-placed Brentford.
Luton Town, who started the final day inside the relegation zone, rose to the safety of 19th place thanks to a 3-2 win over Blackburn Rovers.
Hull City, Charlton Athletic and Wigan Athletic were all relegated to the third-tier League One.
Wigan, however, only dropped into the bottom three as a result of a 12-point penalty imposed at the conclusion of the campaign as a result of the club going into administration.
Wigan can appeal that decision and if they succeed in overturning or reducing that sanction, then Barnsley could still be relegated.
Gerald Krasner, the administrator in charge of Wigan, says the club’s appeal will be heard on July 31.
Wigan had an excellent second half of the season, with only champions Leeds United and Brentford collecting more points than them since the turn of the year.
The Latics ended with 59 points, which would have been good enough for 13th place before the 12-point deduction was imposed.
Wigan were owned by the Whelan family until 2018 before being taken over by Hong Kong-based International Entertainment Corporation.
The club’s ownership changed hands for the second time in two years when they were taken over by a Hong Kong-based consortium headed by Au Yeung Wai Kay in June and less than a month later, the club went into administration.
Krasner says he has received five offers to take over the club with a preferred bidder identified.
Adding to the confusion, long-running disciplinary cases against Sheffield Wednesday and Derby County have yet to conclude and could possibly impact the relegation situation if they receive points penalties this season.
Both clubs have been charged with misconduct by the league after selling their stadiums to their owners, which may have breached the league’s profit and sustainability rules. The sanctions for such offences vary.
There is still on-the-field drama remaining at the top end of the league with the promotion playoffs kicking off on Sunday.
Brentford, for whom two untimely defeats cost them automatic promotion back to the top-flight for the first time since 1947, will now meet Swansea City, while Cardiff City take on Fulham.
The winners of the two-legged semi-finals will meet at Wembley Stadium on Aug. 4 with a place in the Premier League up for grabs.
Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion claimed the two automatic promotion spots.
Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Toby Davis