Leeds United: Fans’ organisation puts ownership scheme to the vote

Leeds United fans have chance to have their say on minority ownership scheme.
Leeds United fans have chance to have their say on minority ownership scheme.
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Leeds Fans United, the supporters organisation set up last year with the aim of buying a stake in Leeds United, has asked its members to vote on whether to keep the scheme alive.

Shareholders in LFU are being given 28 days to decide if they should press ahead with a plan to secure shares in United or abandon the project and refund financial pledges made by fans. LFU, which was founded in early 2015, has raised around £500,000 through donations made to its Community Benefit Scheme (CBS).

The group set out with the intention of purchasing a minority stake in Leeds but were briefly offered the chance to buy a controlling interest by owner Massimo Cellino in October.

Cellino’s proposal was put to the group at a time when the Italian was under pressure from supporters but discussions between the two sides collapsed within days as Cellino accused LFU of telling “fairytales”. Earlier this year, long-time LFU chief executive Dylan Thwaites resigned from his post and the organisation originally planned to elect a replacement but the decision to vote on LFU’s future could now draw a line under the project.

In a statement, LFU said its CBS directors were recommending that members vote to continue the project, saying: “The task of achieving a stake in the club for fans was always going to be a long-term one and we can only be in a position to achieve it if we remain fully mobilised and fully funded. But the decision is up to you as shareholders and fans.

“Although matters have stabilised at the club in the last few months and the appointment of Garry Monk, his backroom staff and other senior appointments are very welcome, there is still a chance that there will be a change in ownership in the future.

“We are in an ideal position now to take advantage of that. We have been trying to achieve our goal of fan ownership for almost 18 months without success.

“We regard the chance of achieving minority fan ownership while Mr Cellino and (minority shareholder) GFH own the club as low. Your guess is as good as ours as to how long they will remain the owners.”

LFU said the outcome would be decided by “a simple majority of all validated votes.”

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