Would another promotion be a conflict of interest for Bates and FSF? TSS May 13, 2010 Leeds United 92 Comments Now that the dust has settled on our last-gasp promotion to the Championship, it’s time to look forward. After so many years of decline, Leeds United fans will now be hoping for a swift return to what most of us see as our natural home – The Premier League. It’s not unthinkable either. Plenty of clubs have achieved back-to-back promotions and Leicester did extremely well in 2009-10, so why shouldn’t a club with the turnover of Leeds United be able to compete? Quite frankly, we should. Regardless of how deep our chairman’s/owner’s pockets may be. The one thing that does concern me – and no doubt many others – however is the mysterious ownership that still hangs over our club. Forget the various conspiracy theories as they really don’t make any difference. What does, or will, make a difference however is whether this veil of transparency will ever be lifted. I don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves here, because promotion to the Premier League is by no means just a waiting game. There are far too many variables to predict the future of this club, and even the more optimistic amongst us still have a nagging doubt in the back of our minds that somewhere along the way, this temporary feeling of achievement will inevitably be cancelled out by an epic kick in the teeth. But promotion to the Premier League is definitely a realistic target, so it would be short-sighted of us not to look at the possible implications of our return. To get to my point, the one that has me sweating the most is the variation in ownership rules that apply to Premier League clubs that don’t apply to us lower down. Those in the Premier League for example (and this is key) have to publicly declare who the beneficial owners of their football club are. After so many years of desperately hiding the identity of our owners, Ken Bates’ tireless attempts to keep them covered up would be useless in the top flight. It’s a pre-condition of joining, so basically – no transparency, no place! Now, I aren’t suggesting for one second that Ken Bates would keep us in the Championship simply to avoid letting the skeletons out of the closet. Even his most hardened critic (and I like to think I make the top ten) would be far-stretched to make that argument. Ken loves the publicity of it all, and the prospect of a clash between Leeds and Chelsea undoubtedly makes his mouth water. You have to give Ken the benefit of the doubt here. He’s an educated enough man, and will be well aware of the different ownership rules that apply, so he must have drawn up a back-up plan for when/if we do make the Premier League – But what is that back-up plan? Are Leeds United now up for sale? Or has Ken Bates (and the beneficial owners of LUFC) resigned themselves to the unavoidable transparency that comes with a place in the Premier League?