Is Leeds United a lone voice against Sky TV?

Leeds United's owner Massimo Cellino

Leeds United's owner Massimo Cellino

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LEEDS host high-flying Middlesbrough tonight with yet more controversy surrounding owner Massimo Cellino.

Reports on Sunday claimed Leeds had started legal action against the Football League 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 is only going ahead after the League was forced to take out a legal injunction against Leeds to ensure they honoured the fixture.

Leeds have since issued a statement, via executive director Paul Bell, dismissing the claims.

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.”

Amid this backdrop Middlesbrough need to get their promotion bid back on track after a run of four games without a win.

They were usurped by Hull at the top of the Sky Bet Championship following Saturday’s fixtures.

Transfer deadline day signing Jordan Rhodes rescued a point for Boro at MK Dons last Tuesday but is still awaiting his first start since his £9million arrival from Blackburn.

The prolific striker is hoping to feature more prominently for the Teessiders in the coming weeks but knows he will have to bide his time to claim a regular starting spot.

He told the FL72 podcast : “The manager has an array of talent and a squad full of fantastic players.

“I’ll go into training bright and lively and do the very best I can, and if I get selected (to start) then great. But if not, I’ll support the lads who are selected.

“Middlesbrough are a club doing well at the moment and it would be nice at the start of May to confirm that (top-flight) status, but there’s plenty of hard work to do between now and then.

“The mentality of the club is that we have to concentrate on ourselves. There’s no point thinking about other teams or results, it’s about us getting those wins that have been tough to come by in the last couple of weeks. Let’s hope we can put that right on Monday.”

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