Leeds United: Bates buyout makes Whites ‘Prem proof’

Ken Bates. PIC: Varley Picture Agency
Ken Bates. PIC: Varley Picture Agency
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Ken Bates’ purchase of shares in Leeds United was announced after high-level talks with Premier League board members, the Yorkshire Evening Post can reveal.

Bates and club chief executive Shaun Harvey met with Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards and chief executive Richard Scudamore last week to discuss the transfer of a controlling stake to United’s chairman.

The Premier League is understood to be fully satisfied that the 79-year-old’s acquisition of a 72.85 per cent interest in Leeds City Holdings Limited – a firm which owns Leeds United – complies with its regulations on ownership.

Bates secured a majority shareholding in Leeds last week, buying out Forward Sports Fund (FSF) through Outro Limited, a West Indies-based firm.

The beneficiaries of FSF remained anonymous throughout their involvement with Leeds, but Scudamore brought the issue to a head recently by stating the Premier League would demand disclosure of the identity of United’s owners if the Championship club won promotion this season.

Though the Football League were satisfied by details previously supplied to them by Leeds, the Premier League is believed to have taken the view that a statement published on United’s website last summer – a complex outline of the ownership structure at Elland Road – failed to comply with the spirit of rules it introduced two years ago.

Bates said: “The deal was actually done a fortnight ago. Then we went down to see the (Premier League) last Thursday and they ticked all the boxes. If we had got promotion this season, there wouldn’t have been any problems.”

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