Leeds United: Whites still able to sign new players

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LEEDS United will still be able to make signings in the January transfer window, despite being hit with a transfer ban yesterday by the Football League.

Leeds were one of three Championship clubs punished after breaching the Football League’s financial fair play (FFP) rules, along with Blackburn Rovers and this Saturday’s hosts Nottingham Forest.

The League announced that the three clubs all incurred financial losses more than the £8million permitted during last season. Under the transfer embargoes, the three clubs will be prohibited from signing any new players – either on a permanent or loan deal – unless they have 24 or fewer “established players”, described as players aged 21 or over that have made at least five starts for the club.

But as Leeds have fewer than 24 established players they will still be able to sign players in certain circumstances, namely if the costs of a player being signed are less than £600,000 per annum. Leeds will not be permitted to pay transfer fees or compensation fees for professional players, nor will they be permitted to pay a loan fee to another club.

For incoming players, clubs can only pay agents’ fees as a benefit in kind to the player in question (as long as they do not exceed the £600,000 employee costs limit).

But in line with existing regulations, Leeds will be able to sign a goalkeeper on an emergency basis.

Where clubs have 24 established players, they will be permitted to trade on a ‘one out, one in’ basis but only if the employee costs of the player coming in to the club are no more than whichever is the lower amount of – 75 per cent of the equivalent costs of the player going out, or a maximum of £600,000 per annum (or pro-rata if signed on shorter contract).

Leeds will have 20 players who fall into the ‘established players’ category if Noel Hunt and Scott Wootton return from their loan spells.

The other 18 are Mirco Antenucci, Rodolph Austin, Giuseppe Bellusci, Gaetano Berardi, Tommaso Bianchi, Liam Cooper, Souleymane Doukara, Steve Morison, Luke Murphy, David Norris, Jason Pearce, Billy Sharp, Marco Silvestri, Casper Sloth, Zac Thompson, Michael Tonge, Aidy White and Stephen Warnock.

The clubs will have their embargoes lifted at the end of the season if they can demonstrate they have stayed within the maximum permitted losses of £6million - £3million losses plus £3million covered by shareholder investment - for the current season.

In other news, former Leeds United assistant Nigel Gibbs has joined Millwall as first team coach to Ian Holloway.

Gibbs - Brian McDermott’s right-hand man - most recently held the position of assistant manager but left during the summer following a fall out with owner Massimo Cellino.

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