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Leeds United situation frustrates Ken Bates
10:20pm Wednesday 26th March 2014 in Sport
Former Leeds owner Ken Bates has told the club’s current hierarchy to get “out of the way” as the confusing situation at Elland Road shows no sign of abating.
Gulf Finance House Capital, who Bates sold the Championship club to in December 2012, is currently looking to find a solution after the man they wanted to sell to, Massimo Cellino, was told he could not complete his transaction by the Football League.
The Italian was found guilty of tax evasion in his home country last week and as such failed the League’s owners’ and director’s test, leaving GFH with a conundrum to solve.
It selected Cellino and his Eleonora consortium as its preferred bidder last month, with the decision coming days after a group consisting of club sponsor Andrew Flowers and current managing director David Haigh fell apart.
Bates has remained in the background since selling the club, but the 82-year-old has spoken out, claiming his wife had loaned GFH money and that he had been asked and was willing to join up with Flowers and Haigh’s group.
Bates said: “They (GFH) claim to be a multi-million-pound bank, so why did my wife have to lend them £1million this time last year to pay wages? And why are they scrabbling around today to pay the wages tomorrow. It’s hand-to-mouth all the time.”
Bates’ comments about wages come a day after team manager Brian McDermott, in the wake of the 4-1 loss to Bournemouth, suggested his players were worried about being paid this week.
Cellino has been funding Leeds over recent months but has stopped bankrolling the club and it remains to be seen where Leeds’ cash is going to come from.
Former Chelsea owner Bates has long been rumoured to be in the background at Elland Road but on Wednesday denied he was going to launch a takeover bid.
He did, however, say he had been willing to put money into Flowers’ and Haigh’s consortium - a claim which contradicts earlier comments from Haigh that Bates, a divisive figure amongst Leeds fans, was not involved.
“The rumours, I’m afraid, are unfounded,” he said.
“Andrew put together a deal with David Haigh, it was agreed with Hisham (Alrayes, of GFHC’s parent company) and then Hisham changes his mind and does a deal with this Italian. I’m keeping a close eye on it because I still love Leeds and want them to do well.
“I’d like to see GFH out the way. Somebody, anybody, who takes it over must be better than them.
“It’s a secret but I was asked if I would put £1.5million towards Andrew and David’s consortium because someone had dropped out. I said yes, but it never happened.”
Bates’ outburst came after it emerged Cellino, via his London-based lawyers Mischon de Reya, will lodge an appeal against the Football League’s decision.
Cagliari owner Cellino has 14 days to appeal against the Football League’s decision and a spokesperson for Mishcon de Reya told Press Association Sport: “We are preparing an appeal on behalf of Mr Cellino but shall not be commenting further at this stage.”
GFH Capital confirmed on Monday that it is still in talks with the Football League and Eleonora Sport in a bid “to find a solution that is suitable to all parties”.
There was no comment from GFH Capital or Leeds tonight.
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