Bates presidential term is cut short

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CHAMPIONSHIP: Leeds United dramatically severed all ties with Ken Bates last night by cutting short the 81-year-old’s controversial reign as president.

Bates’s time in the post ended unceremoniously after just 25 days with United announcing that their former owner would “no longer have any role within the football club”.

The development came less than a month after Bates stood down as chairman to become club president in a move negotiated as part of GFH Capital’s takeover of Leeds last December.

Bates, who filled a position previously held by the late Lord Harewood, was due to remain as president for a three-year term until the summer of 2016 under the terms of his deal with GFH Capital.

But in a brief statement, United managing director and GFH Capital deputy chief executive David Haigh said: “Ken Bates has ceased to be president of Leeds United. Mr Bates will now no longer have any role within the football club.”

Leeds declined to comment on what had prompted Bates’s exit a week before the start of the new Championship season.

His influence at Elland Road has been increasingly limited since GFH Capital’s buy-out seven months ago and he surrendered all executive power when he stepped down from United’s board of directors on June 30.

Bates was replaced as chairman by Bahraini businessman Salah Nooruddin but United have not announced a successor for the role of president.

Yesterday’s unexpected development drew a line under Bates’s eight-and-a-half year involvement at Elland Road. He took charge as chairman in January 2005 and bought a majority stake in the club in April 2011.

United recently began a marketing campaign using the slogan ‘The past is the past’ – seen as an attempt to draw back supporters who abandoned the club during Bates’s era.