Wigan Athletic loses sponsors over appointment of manager in ‘homophobic texts’ row

Wigan Athletic football club has been dropped by two sponsors, after it appointed a new manager who is under investigation over an alleged string of homophobic texts.

Allegations were made in August that the former Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay and his then head of recruitment Iain Moody were involved with a string of racist, homophobic and sexist text messages – one of which allegedly read: “He’s a snake, a gay snake. Not to be trusted.”

Mackay – who departed the team last December – later admitted to sending some of the messages, saying: “Out of 10,000 text messages in and out of someone’s phone, I sent three, and that being the case, looking at them, they are completely unacceptable, inappropriate, and for that and any offence I’ve caused, I sincerely apologise.”

Despite an ongoing FA investigation, Mackay has was this week made the manager of Championship team Wigan Athletic.

After outcry over the appointment, two of the team’s major sponsors have cut their ties with the club.

Kitchen firm Premier Range – which only signed a deal with the club earlier this year – announced it would no longer sponsor Wigan, followed by sports drink firm Ipro.

A statement from Kitchen Range said: “It is with great sorrow that we have to announce we are breaking our ties with Wigan Athletic FC.

“Football is very close to our hearts here at premierrange.co.uk and we have always involved ourselves with local teams in one way or another. We had a great run with Burnley FC – and were delighted when they were promoted this season.

“We thought that it was natural for us move on to another local team with Wigan and we decided to sponsor their shirts. Unfortunately, their recent appointment of Malky Mackay has put us in a position that we find untenable.

“Mr Mackay is under investigation by the FA for sending text messages that are at odds with the general ethos here at Premier Range – and, it would seem, Cardiff and QPR feel the same as us.

“The texts Mr Mackay has admitted to sending are wholly unacceptable – and the thoughts expressed within them are a shocking reminder of a past we thought football had left behind. A team that would employ a man who expresses views such these is not the kind of team Premier Range wish to deal with.”

Ipro told the Guardian it “actively encourages positive working relationships that are not based on colour, race, nationality, religious belief, sexual orientation or age and cannot condone racism, sexism or homophobia. As a result, it is with deep regret that Ipro Sport will be severing its relationship with Wigan Athletic.”