Leeds United will be free to sign players without restriction this summer after the Football League lifted their Financial Fair Play (FFP) transfer embargo.
In another positive development at Elland Road, United have cleared a hurdle which hampered them throughout January by demonstrating to the Football League that they are compliant with FFP rules. The governing body is understood to have informed the club last week that they would not be subject to an embargo during the coming window.
Leeds were punished in January after losses of more than £22m in the 2013-14 financial year – most amassed prior to owner Massimo Cellino’s takeover – broke limits set for Championship clubs.
They were one of three second-tier sides, along with Blackburn Rovers and Nottingham Forest, who breached FFP regulations. The embargo did not prevent United from signing players completely but the club were limited to loanees and free transfers on wages of less than £12,000 a week.
Three new players came to Elland Road in January, with Sol Bamba and Granddi Ngoyi moving on loan from Palermo and striker Edgar Cani joining temporarily from Catania.
Club director Andrew Umbers, however, told the YEP in January that Leeds would exit their embargo at the end of the season, saying losses for the 2014-15 financial year would drop to around £7m.
Umbers said: “The situation has dramatically improved. We’ve submitted our FFP analysis. We’re already planning for what we need to do squad-wise for the 2015-16 season.”
The Football League has not commented on the removal of United’s embargo but a statement issued by Leeds last night read: “Leeds United can confirm that the FFP transfer embargo recently imposed upon the club has been lifted in time for the 2015 summer transfer window.
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“The window officially opens on July 1 and the club will not face any restrictions in relation to buying or selling players.”
The news follows the announcement of a new contract for England Under-19 midfielder Lewis Cook and the appointment of ex-Hull City owner Adam Pearson as a club director on Monday.
Cook’s deal now runs to 2017 and Pearson - Leeds’ former commercial director - has rejoined the board as Cellino faces up to a pivotal summer in charge.
The Italian is planning to revamp United’s squad again having brought 15 new players to Elland Road last summer and the release from embargo will free his hands in the market.