Leeds United face misconduct charge and sanctions over Sky Sports ban

Leeds United will face a misconduct charge and “a full range of sanctions” if they prevent Tuesday night’s match against Derby from being broadcast.

Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino
Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino

The Football League has informed the Whites that they will be referred to an independent Football Disciplinary Commission if the situation at Elland Road does not change before the game.

Owner Massimo Cellino has instructed staff to deny Sky Sports’ production crew entry to Elland Road.

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Staff from Sky Sports were denied entry to Elland Road on Monday as they arrived to set up for the match and, as of Tuesday morning, access had not been granted.

Sky Sports require around three hours to set up their production facilities for a game. Staff from the channel are currently waiting at Elland Road to find out if they will be allowed to do so.

Cellino’s stance is in response to the number of times his side have been shown on Sky Sports this season, resulting in a number of kick-off and date changes.

Leeds have been shown live on Sky Sports nine times already this season, with Tuesday’s game taking them into double figures, with four of them home games. Two further games are already scheduled for 2016, making Leeds the joint-most covered club in the Championship, along with Derby.

Earlier this season Cellino said he would be capping Leeds’ well-known large away support at 2,000 in order to make the point that his club would not be taken for granted, only to reverse the decision after fan dissent.

His latest move has been to deny Sky the right to broadcast, however the League has told Leeds that access must be given to Sky if disciplinary action is to be avoided.

A spokesperson said: “Under Football League regulations, clubs are required to provide access to the League’s broadcasting partners for the purpose of setting up and filming any matches that are selected for transmission.

“Failure to do so will lead to a club being charged with misconduct with the matter being referred to an independent Football Disciplinary Commission (FDC).

“The FDC has a full range of sanctions at its disposal.”

Cellino is currently waiting for an appeal date as he fights a second Football League ban for breaching its Owners’ and Directors’ test following a tax evasion conviction in Italy.

He will not be present at Elland Road on Tuesday as he is in Miami and has left the enforcement of his ban with other staff.

Sky Sports had no comment to make, with the resolving of the issue falling at the feet of the League and the club.

The League’s rules state that broadcasters should be granted access to stadia.

The rules read: “73.2 The League or any subsidiary or associated company of The League or duly authorised agent or broadcaster (and its respective employees and agents) shall be allowed access to the grounds of all Clubs (and to the television gantries, camera positions and facilities) for the purpose of recording or broadcasting matches arranged under the jurisdiction of The League.”