‘£500,000 bill’ as Ken Bates and Leeds settle out of court

Ken Bates
Ken Bates
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THE fight over the dismissal of Ken Bates as Leeds United president has been settled out of court.

The club’s former owner says an agreement was reached between him and Massimo Cellino last week and now needs only an official court stamp.

“We’re back on kissy-kissy terms,” Bates said.

“We look forward to working very closely with Leeds United.”

‘We’ would appear to be Radio Yorkshire, the station launched by Bates earlier this year. The 82-year-old did not say what the terms of his settlement were, though he did claim the deal was essentially the same as one he discussed with United in March.

Bates said he and ex-Leeds managing director David Haigh drew up a settlement before Gulf Finance House sold the club to Cellino but accused Hisham Alrayes, GFH’s chief executive, of “refusing to honour it”.

The agreement – “mostly what I proposed,” according to Bates – was subsequently accepted in principle by Cellino at the beginning of last month.

The expectation is that the resolution will see Radio Yorkshire acquire matchday commentary rights for United’s first-team fixtures, perhaps for as long as the next five or six years.

Before GFH sacked Bates as president in July 2013, he tried and failed to buy LUTV – United’s in-house television station – the club’s official website and the now defunct Yorkshire Radio for a fee of £2m. Bates believed a sale was in the offing but GFH backed out of talks and awarded matchday commentary rights to BBC Radio Leeds before the 2013-14 season. The BBC’s deal runs to 2016 but the corporation never demands exclusive contracts from football clubs.

Full details of the agreement between Bates and Cellino should become clear soon. In the meantime, Bates claims Leeds are facing a bill of around £500,000 from their own lawyers.