BROADCASTING watchdog Ofcom has criticised Leeds United’s now-defunct club radio station over its treatment of ex-Whites director Melvyn Levi.
Businessman Mr Levi, 69, lodged a complaint with Ofcom after Yorkshire Radio made announcements in 2010 which he said likened him to a criminal on the run.
Now the watchdog has ruled that he suffered unfair treatment at the hands of the station, launched just over a year into Ken Bates’ reign as United chairman.
United’s current owners, GFH Capital, axed Yorkshire Radio this summer, less than a week after Mr Bates’ ousting from the club.
The Ofcom ruling comes days after Mr Bates confirmed he was seeking to set up a new station called Radio Yorkshire.
The broadcasts that sparked the complaint to the watchdog were made during a business dispute between Mr Levi and Mr Bates.
Ofcom’s adjudication says Yorkshire Radio put out at least six announcements stating United were “searching for the whereabouts of Melvyn Levi in order to serve him some papers in relation to a High Court action in Jersey”.
Mr Levi, a director of Leeds between 2004 and 2005, has previously said the appeals likened him to “a fugitive”.
Ofcom yesterday said it was “reasonable” for Mr Levi to have been “troubled and distressed”.
The watchdog added that it considered the station’s actions had amounted to “harassment”.
Ofcom also said, however, that there had been “no unwarranted infringement of Mr Levi’s privacy” as a result of the broadcasts.
The adjudication further says that Mr Bates and Shaun Harvey – United’s former chief executive and current holder of the same role at the Football League – “exerted control” over Yorkshire Radio.
Reacting to the ruling, Mr Levi yesterday told the YEP: “I am pleased by the findings that Ofcom have made.
“It’s taken three years and that’s because this is something they have looked at in a great deal of detail.”