Leeds United: MP calls on Bates to declare club’s real owners

30 September 2009 | Posted in Features - Insights | By Michael Long | Contact the author

Phil Willis, the Liberal Democrat MP for Harrogate & Knaresborough, has called on Ken Bates, chairman of Leeds United, to declare who owns the club, after it emerged that Bates does not jointly own Forward Sports Fund, the club's holding company.

"Leeds United is a fantastic football club whose loyal and dedicated supporters have stuck by it through thick and thin," Willis told The Guardian. "They have a right to know who owns their club and that those people are fit and proper. The Football League must revisit this case to ensure that its rules, that owners must be passed as fit and proper, have been met."

'The ownership of Leeds United has been routed via a network of offshore companies ever since Ken Bates arrived at Elland Road as the club's new chairman in 2005, and now mystery surrounds it again,' reports the newspaper in the same article.

'Bates told the Royal Court of Jersey in January this year that he himself jointly owned the club's holding company, the Cayman Islands-registered Forward Sports Fund, with his long-term financial advisor, the Guernsey accountant Patrick Murrin. It has since emerged that in May Bates swore an affidavit in the same court, stating that it had been "not correct" and "an error on my part" to say he was the joint owner of his club.

'Contrary to what he and his solicitor Mark Taylor, also a Leeds director, had told the court in January, there are in fact 10,000 shares in Forward, and Bates does not own any of them. Forward's administrators, based in Geneva, have refused to say who the owners of those shares are.'

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