Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Executive director Paul Bell denies Leeds are taking legal action against League

Published 14/02/2016

Leeds United's owner Massimo Cellino has been in dispute with the Football League
Leeds United's owner Massimo Cellino has been in dispute with the Football League

Leeds are not taking legal action against the Football League, according to executive director Paul Bell.

Reports on Sunday said United were taking action in a bid to dismantle the collective selling of television rights and instead sell their own games.

It was also reported that Monday's clash with Middlesbrough is only going ahead after the League was forced to take out a legal injunction against Leeds to ensure they honoured the fixture.

The club, and in particular owner Massimo Cellino, have been at loggerheads with the League and Sky Sports all season as a consequence of the amount of times they have been shown live on the network.

The Boro game will be Leeds' 12th live game of the season - the last time the cameras turned up at Elland Road for a game against Derby on December 29 they were locked out by Cellino.

On that occasion he relented just five hours before kick-off and Sunday's reports suggested a new rift had developed.

But in a statement on Sunday night, Bell said: "Last Thursday I attended a meeting organised by the Football League on behalf of all its member clubs.

"The meeting was organised, like all previous Football League club meetings, so that clubs could discuss matters together, privately and confidentially.

"It is therefore disappointing to read inaccurate press reports this morning quoting 'sources' from within the meeting.

"Given the nature of the article, I feel that it is important and necessary to set the record straight.

"I would like to make it clear that Leeds United is not seeking, or taken legal action, to dismantle the collective selling of TV rights as has been suggested.

"The club has, however, made it clear to both Sky and the League that it opposes the degree of control exercised by Sky over the league fixture list, and seeks transparency as to how these rights have been sold.

"Today's article seeks to position Leeds United as a lone, isolated voice. However, this is far from the truth and there is a growing number of clubs who now understand and share our desire for transparency."

Bell's statement is unlikely to ease fan dissent against Cellino, though.

The Italian - currently appealing a League disqualification for tax evasion - activated his legal team last week when unhappy fans paid for an advert to be put up outside Elland Road calling for him to sell the club.

A large number of United supporters are unhappy at the 59-year-old's running of the club and Press Association Sport understands further demonstrations will take place ahead of and during the Middlesbrough game.

Donations from supporters have tallied up at over £4,000, all of which has been spent on funding the latest protests, although Cellino is likely to be in Italy come kick-off.

There has been no comment from the Football League.

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph