League sends in hit squad over Leeds training ground closure

Elland Road
Elland Road
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THE Football League confirmed today that it is sending officials to Leeds United to discuss the impact of the closure of the club’s training ground on their youth academy.

The governing body is to hold a meeting with Leeds next week after owner Massimo Cellino took the unprecedented step of temporarily shutting Leeds’ training complex at Thorp Arch.

The decision came last Friday as part of Cellino’s attempts to cut costs and reduce monthly losses of more than £1m.

Thorp Arch, which has never been closed during the summer before, is due to reopen when the senior squad at Leeds begin pre-season training.

But the Football League is to ask questions about the effect of the closure on United’s academy having award the youth development scheme category two status under the new Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) towards the end of the season.

Through EPPP, Leeds were paid almost £500,000 to invest their academy.

A spokesman for the Football League denied that the organisation was preparing a formal “investigation” but said it “was meeting with the club to discuss what implications it might have on the youth development programme.”

Cellino’s takeover of Leeds on April 7 went through after a failed attempt by the Football League to disqualify him from buying a 75 per cent stake in the club.

The Italian businessman is engaging in severe cost-cutting at Elland Road and announced a formal redundancy scheme among general staff yesterday.