Bates' move ends Leeds ownership saga

Bates' move ends Leeds ownership saga

Ken Bates has become the major shareholder of Leeds in a move that ends the mystery over the ownership of the club.

Bates, the club’s chairman, has bought out FSF Limited through his company Outro Limited, Leeds confirmed in a statement.

Leeds say they hope the move will bring an end to “scaremongering” about the mystery of the ownership and “delivers the transparency sought”.

An inquiry into football by a committee of MPs had put Leeds’ ownership under the spotlight and the Premier League had said they would require full disclosure of the shareholders of the three offshore trusts that had owned FSF Limited.

Leeds said in a statement: "The scaremongering arising out of the football governance inquiry has not been helpful and, whilst the board were always confident that there were no issues, recognise the concern the unknown outcome of any Premier League questions may have on our members.

“To address this issue and in the hope that this brings an end to the speculation, the chairman, Ken Bates, has completed the purchase of FSF Limited for an undisclosed sum. FSF Limited is now owned by Outro Limited which is wholly owned by Ken Bates.

“This change in ownership structure makes Ken Bates the controlling shareholder of Leeds United and delivers the transparency sought.”

The statement claimed there had been a “political obsession” over Leeds’ ownership.

Leeds chief executive Shaun Harvey gave evidence to the inquiry in March where he told MPs the club’s owners were a holding company called FSF Limited based in the West Indian island of Nevis, owned by three discretionary trusts.

The owners of these trusts were unknown, he said, but that they had appointed two men, Patrick Murrin and Peter Boatman, to run the club and they had asked Bates to be chairman.

Harvey said neither he, nor to his knowledge Bates, knew who the shareholders of the trusts were.

Damian Collins MP, a member of the culture, media and sport committee carrying out the inquiry into football governance, welcomed the announcement.

Collins said: “If our inquiry has had something to do with the new clarity of who owns Leeds then I am very pleased.

“It was unacceptable to have a football club whose fans did not know who the owners were. I could not see how the FA could ensure there were no conflicts of interests or issues of dual ownership if they did not know who the principle investors were.”

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