The Football League has warned Leeds United that the club will face a misconduct charge and “a full range of sanctions” if owner Massimo Cellino carries out his threat to block Sky Sports from televising tonight’s clash with Derby County.
The governing body confirmed that the Championship fixture would go ahead as planned regardless of whether Sky were able to transmit a live broadcast but it said United would be in breach of its rules unless Cellino backed down in the coming hours.
The Italian took the unprecedented move of ordering club officials to deny Sky’s employees access to Elland Road yesterday amid an ongoing dispute between Leeds and the Football League over fixture disruption caused by television scheduling.
Staff from Sky expected to set up for tonight’s broadcast a day in advance but were refused permission to enter the ground.
The Football League has been working to resolve the situation ahead of kick-off but Leeds were showing no sign of reversing Cellino’s decision this morning.
Both the club and Sky have declined to comment but a spokesman for the Football League said: “Under Football League regulations, clubs are required to provide access to the League's broadcasting partners for the purpose of setting up and filming any matches that are selected for transmission.
“Failure to do so will lead to a club being charged with misconduct with the matter being referred to an independent Football Disciplinary Commission (FDC).
“The FDC has a full range of sanctions at its disposal.”
The spokesman added that the game would “definitely go ahead.”
Cellino has been at odds with Sky and the Football League for much of this season, owing to Sky’s decision to televise 11 of United’s fixtures since the start of the campaign in August.
The 59-year-old is currently in Miami having flown to the USA before Christmas but he instructed staff to block Sky’s attempts to broadcast tonight’s clash before leaving for America.