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Sir Bradley Wiggins' medals and trophies set to be seized after being declared bankrupt

The five-time Olympic champion and 2012 Tour de France winner had accumulated debts totalling almost £1 million

Sir Bradley Wiggins could have all his assets, including the numerous trophies and medals he won over the course of 15 years during his stunning professional cycling career, seized after the former Tour de France winner was declared bankrupt in court.

Wiggins, who retired in 2016 having won eight Olympic medals, five of them gold, and becoming the first British rider to win the Tour, had been facing financial difficulties for the last few years, although a spokesperson for the rider disputed such claims. In 2020, his company Wiggins Rights Limited entered voluntary liquidation, with creditors including HM ­Revenue & Customs, who were owed over £300,000.

In November last year, there were already reports that the 43-year-old was facing bankruptcy over unpaid debts totalling nearly £1 million, after documents filed at Companies House by liquidators revealed that he was yet to repay any of the money he was said to have agreed to satisfy about to a loan made to him.

According to a report from The Times, Wiggins was officially been declared bankrupt earlier this week at Lancaster County Court, with trustees now set to be appointed to seize and dispose of Sir Bradley’s assets, which could include medals and ­trophies.

Sir Bradley Wiggins UCI Hour Record 03 picture credit Harry Dowdney from Rapha

Sir Bradley Wiggins UCI Hour Record (credit Harry Dowdney from Rapha)

> Sir Bradley Wiggins reportedly facing bankruptcy over £1 million debts

Paul Rouse, head of client services at the accountancy firm Forvis Mazars, said: “Sir Bradley Wiggins is a British sporting icon, and for him to find himself in this financial position, a decade on from his peak, will be an extremely distressing fall from grace.

“A bankruptcy trustee will be appointed to seize and sell his assets, potentially including medals and trophies of his successful sporting past, as was the case with Boris Becker recently.

“As you would expect, those involved in elite sport are often focussed solely on their primary goals of winning titles and striving for sporting excellence.

“Professionals will surround them to advise on the financial benefits that follow that success, and they would be wise to ensure that their chosen advisors are trustworthy, and that they are safeguarding their client’s long-term position”.

In December 2020, not long after his company entered liquidation, a spokesperson said that Wiggins’s involvement in the business side of things was "not day to day," and that "this in no way affects Bradley's personal solvency."

As we reported in  the past, now Wiggins also risks losing the trademark rights to his own surname as well as his nickname ‘Wiggo’ which had been put up for sale by liquidators, while the supervisor of his Individual Voluntary Agreement (IVA), which the rider entered in 2020, had also issued him with a notice of breach of the terms of that agreement.

Wiggins had previously claimed the financial difficulties are “a very historical matter that involves professional negligence from [others] that has left a s*** pile with my name at the front of it to deal with.

“Happens to a lot of sportsmen while they’re doing the grafting and on that there’ll be a number of legal claims from my lawyers left, right and centre as a result.”

Bradley Wiggins - image via Lwp Kommunikacio on Flickr.jpg
(Lwp Kommunikacio on Flickr)

The former Team Sky star shone most brightly in the heady few months of 2012 when, 10 days after becoming the first Briton to pull on the race winner’s yellow jersey on the Champs-Elysees podium, he triumphed in the individual time trial at the London Olympics, performances which led to him being named BBC Sports Personality of the Year for 2012, as well as earning him a knighthood as part of the 2013 New Year Honours.

> Bradley Wiggins says "borderline rape" by former coach led to him using "cycling as distraction"

Since his retirement in 2016, however, he has spoken candidly of the pressures of coming to terms with fame, his struggles with depression and about the break-up of his marriage to his wife Cath, with whom he has two children, Ben and Bella.

A year ago, he also spoke out about the abuse he suffered as a child, calling it "borderline rape" and even let out the fact that he turned to cycling as a distraction. A few months later, he named Stan Knight, who died in 2003, as the coach who sexually abused him and other young riders.

He said that the coach would take him on training camps to a youth hostel in Dorset aged 12, sleep in the same bed and abuse him in the shower, accusations repeated in the account of another victim. He explained how the abuse would begin with "minor acts" presented under the pretence that Knight's actions were just to help with sporting performance.

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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13 comments

Avatar
Organon | 3 days ago
0 likes

I know this fella called Djokovic who will pay a hefty amount for that gold medal if you can hold on until August, Bradley.

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Paul J | 4 days ago
0 likes

That's kind of sad to have to sell of personal items of immense sentimental value. Shouldn't have to.

He should have perhaps gifted these to someone he could trust to keep them in the family prior to the IVA. His kids perhaps.

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Rendel Harris replied to Paul J | 4 days ago
3 likes

Paul J wrote:

He should have perhaps gifted these to someone he could trust to keep them in the family prior to the IVA. His kids perhaps.

You can be prosecuted for fraud if you gift any cash or property with the intention of keeping it outwith bankruptcy proceedings any time within the five years previous to the bankruptcy taking effect. The common plea is "innocent intention", i.e. when you transferred the property you could not reasonably have anticipated that you would become bankrupt; given the long-standing nature of Wiggins' financial problems not sure that would work for him.

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Paul J replied to Rendel Harris | 3 days ago
1 like

I was thinking there'd be some way claw back. Didn't realise it could actually be fraud.

I was, of course, suggesting it was a shame he hadn't, completely co-incidentally, placed his most prized memorabilia into some kind of trust for his kids, at some point *before* he ran into any kind of money problems. Maybe something many people should give thought to while they can - before it's becomes a hypothetical case for 20/20 hindsight.

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JerryMyer | 5 days ago
0 likes

The previous envelope clearly wasn't big enough...

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ROOTminus1 | 5 days ago
0 likes

These articles have never been clear, are they personal debts, business debts, or a combination of both?

If it's personal debt, it's terrible but that's the way the law is, but it would be surpring to rack up over £1M.
If it's the latter, given that he as a business was surrounded by people to do the financials for him, are they not culpable as well, or else would he have grounds to sue for fraudulent advice?

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to ROOTminus1 | 5 days ago
3 likes

Sounds a bit of both, he owned WRL with his wife and mother but when it went bankrupt he owed the company £760,000 in a loan he had taken out of it, and he's failed to repay that as he had agreed with creditors he would do.

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RTB | 5 days ago
2 likes

Possibly high up the value list is the bike on which he won the 2012 TT Olympic gold.  According to him, the only bike he still owns. Challenging times for a man right on the edge. 

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OnTheRopes | 6 days ago
11 likes

Yes I get that he is bankrupt and I get that his debts need to be paid and much of this is possibly his own fault and he has been a a bit of a dick at times but come on, taking the guys medals and trophies, thats pretty sick.

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polainm replied to OnTheRopes | 5 days ago
2 likes

HMRC - would take the skin off a granny if it was 'legal'. Meanwhile, tax evading mega corps aren't touched...

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Brauchsel replied to polainm | 5 days ago
0 likes

Maybe so, but it's his trustee in bankruptcy and not his creditors who is responsible for deciding what is sold. 

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ErnieC replied to OnTheRopes | 5 days ago
0 likes

OnTheRopes wrote:

Yes I get that he is bankrupt and I get that his debts need to be paid and much of this is possibly his own fault and he has been a a bit of a dick at times but come on, taking the guys medals and trophies, thats pretty sick.

At what point do the laws stop applying though? 

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to OnTheRopes | 5 days ago
5 likes

OnTheRopes wrote:

Yes I get that he is bankrupt and I get that his debts need to be paid and much of this is possibly his own fault and he has been a a bit of a dick at times but come on, taking the guys medals and trophies, thats pretty sick.

It's a great shame and I hope it can be resolved without the need for him to lose them, but I don't see why he should get an exemption because of his fame and achievements. If his trophies are the most valuable things he has, naturally the receivers would want to sell them. Many people in such difficulties lose their homes, which would be far more traumatic than losing a few medals.

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