Leeds United have today been served with a winding-up petition.
Solicitors Ford & Warren launched proceedings in the High Court this morning (Nov 7) over unpaid costs relating to a case involving ex-Leeds chairman Ken Bates and one-time United director Melvyn Levi.
Ford & Warren are claiming fees in the region of £150,000 and the case is due to be heard on January 13.
The claim involves a case in which Levi and one of his business partners, Robert Weston, were accused by Bates of dishonest dealings.
That allegation was struck out in court, leading Ford and Warren to seek costs from United.
Bates sold Leeds to Gulf Finance House in 2012 and control of the Elland Road club passed to Massimo Cellino when the bought a 75 per cent stake from GFH in April of this year.
Nick Collins, a senior partner at Ford and Warren, told the BBC: “This is not a dispute with Mr Cellino. This is something he has inherited from the previous ownership of the club.
“We bear no ill will towards Mr Cellino and we wish him well. I genuinely hope we can resolve this amicably but we must do what is necessary to protect our clients’ position.”
United faced a series of winding-up petitions - at least one from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs - earlier this year, around the time that Cellino was negotiating his purchase of the club from GFH.
The legal action drew an angry response from United who said they wanted the petition withdrawn and an apology made, otherwise they would go to court on Monday to get it dismissed.
In a statement issued last night, the club said: “The club has today (Friday November 7) received a winding-up petition from solicitors’ firm Ford & Warren acting on behalf of their client Mr. Melvyn Levi.
“We have been advised by legal counsel that the publication of the winding-up order to the media within seven days of its service is illegal and amounts to an abuse of process and a contempt of court.
“This activity was designed for the sole purpose of putting undue pressure on the football club.
“Our lawyers are demanding that the petition be immediately withdrawn, and a full apology made else we will ask the court to dismiss the petition on Monday morning.”