Wigan Warriors and BBC continue standoff against Sky as Latics chief Dave Whelan weighs in

By Ben Burrows

Wigan Athletic chairman Dave Whelan wants Wigan Warriors to play their Challenge Cup Round Six tie at the DW Stadium next weekend.

The Latics chief has declared his support for his rugby league counterparts saying he would be ‘more than happy’ for the Warriors to play rivals St Helens on the Friday night.

The draw, pairing the bitter adversaries, was made yesterday morning and has sparked controversy.

“It’s not my issue to resolve, but I have been encouraging Ian Lenagan to fight them every bit of the way,” Whelan said this afternoon.

“I have no problems at all with Wigan Warriors playing the game on Friday night, and us playing on the Sunday.

“Wigan have drawn St Helens at home. They want to play it at home on Friday night, and they should be allowed to do that.”

The Warriors have been drawn at home and are due to play on the same weekend as Wigan Athletic, who they share the DW Stadium with.

The Latics are due to play their final Premier League football match of the season against Wolverhampton Wanderers on the Sunday afternoon.

The BBC has first choice on which Challenge Cup game it will televise in its Saturday afternoon slot and have picked the Wigan-Saints derby match.

Premier League regulations prevent the game from being staged just 24 hours before the Latics game – but Whelan says a Friday night slot would provide the ideal solution to the issue.

In addition it is unlikely Wigan Athletic would want a rugby league match played on the pitch the day before a game where the Premier League side could be fighting for their survival.

BBC do not want to give up such a high-profile contest to rivals Sky and the two broadcasters remain in standoff.

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