The new Football League chairman, Greg Clarke has began his quest for transparency in football by issuing a ballot to the leagues 72 member clubs, which could see every team forced to be as transparent about ownership as the Premier League.

Speaking to the YEP, Clarke told how important he believed football clubs were to the local community, and how he believed every fan has the right to know who their owners are;

“I believe transparency is important for one major reason, and to illustrate that reason I like to compare a local football club with a pit in a mining village.

“If the village loses the pit, it leaves the villagers devastated. It is the same with the local football club and the impact it would have on that town or city.

“People, therefore, need to know who is running the pit and where they have come from. Every fan wants to know their club is in good hands and we are trying to put that information in place.”

If the vote is passed, it will come into effect for the start of the 2011-12 season. For Leeds United, Forward Sports Fund and Ken Bates, it’s unclear as to what the possible implications may be with such mystery surrounding our ownership.

Since Leeds United’s owners have already been declared ‘fit and proper’ Leeds fans shouldn’t have too much to worry about. That said, I can’t help but think there’s a good reason the true beneficiaries of Leeds United FC are hiding their identity. Let’s hope they’re just camera-shy!

31 Responses

  1. Si

    que Bates to trasfer the shares out of his name at the abck end of this season and then transfer them back to his name once the declaration has been made. Do these idiots not realise how easy it is to do this!!!!

  2. Paul C

    Have we any idea how many votes are needed to pass the new rules?

    For instance ; will a vote of 71 clubs to 1 carry the day?

    • TSS

      I can only assume they need the majority, so 37 for and 35 against would pass it I think?

  3. White to the core

    Bring in mulder and scully. They’ve not been too busy lately. @TSS whats the punishment likely to be if rules have been broken?

  4. les irwin

    to be fair ownership of the club on the leeds site is easier to come by than on any other albeit very cryptic and coded
    looked around all championship sites last night and asside from listing directors etc there is no mention of ultimate beneficiaries . liverpool and manu and all premiership sites do manu for e:g list the glazer family ,liverpool gilet and hicks .
    iv’e often thought there has been a bit of a witch hunt against bates particularly from that c#*t mahwinney but i cant’t wait for this to become law in football .
    now we all know that bates will hold the cards and in fact it says already that BOATMAN AND MURRIN HOLD THE SHARES ON BEHALF OF BATES but this is more than that, bates has categorically stated he takes nothing from leeds united .
    and when it went into admin he had no links at all to any shareholders at the time ,
    now part of mahwhinneys witch hunt is because they didn’t and still don’t believe him i don’t and neither does any one who reads this or any other site .they are maybe not in his name but that doesnt mean he doesnt own them .i put a £ 1000 in my bank for a mate the other day does that make it mine ????? .both our cars are registered in my wifes name because the insurance is cheaper but i drive it .Bates might think he is being clever , but thats only the case if people believe you ,well kenneth quite frankly noone does so the games not over thats why we keep coming back to it .YOU ARE DISGRACE

  5. saltburnwhite

    without predjudice
    well seeing as we know that bates and patrick murrin own the shares of forward sports and forward sports was formed by the company that patrick murrin owns then we can come to the conclusion that patrick murrin is the silent partner and bates is the fall guy . i would also hedge my bets that patrick murrin the former chelsea shareholder who walked away with 14% of the final sale fee of chelsea when abramovich bought it (approx 20 mill) would pass the fit & proper persons test . he prob just doesnt want to be involved in running footy clubs anymore ..
    so i would say that patrick murrin holds a controlling stake in leeds united , probably 51% to bates’ 49% , just so bates can say he doesnt own the club! this is probably with the proviso that bates can buy all the shares back when he gets into the premiership the scheming old git … you just know he is always one step ahead of everyone gotta take your hat off to him really!
    bates sold chelsea for £140 million if i recall so , did he actually get the 120million after murrin took his 20%, or did he have debts to settle etc … if he did keep it then we have two owners with a combined wealth of at least 140 million !
    its all guesswork i know but ….. mark taylor & patrick murrin both said in court in jersey or geurnsey (cant remeber which one) that murrin and bates were the sole owners of forward sports fund (leeds united).

    • les irwin

      NOT according to anything official, chateaua fiduciaire own F S F and they have 10.000 share holders bates swore in court he owns no shares at all in f s f .

  6. les irwin

    the football league have agreed today to change the rules but it will only have to list anyone who owns more than 10% of shares noone does according to bates

  7. saltburnwhite

    . It would appear Chateau Fiduciaire SA are the “legal owner” of the shares in FSF LIMITED however FSF Limited was created for the trusts investment in LCH.

    “The trustee (Chateau Fiduciaire SA) is a fully regulated Swiss Fiduciary providing professional trust and corporate services to clients worldwide”, I read this as Chateau Fiduciaire SA are a company who specialize in creating and managing complex corporate structures.

    My question is why place control of an entity you own in the hands of a corporate “trust” who then appoints two management shares.

    The structure gets even more confusing when it states that “The management shares are held by Patrick Murrin and Peter Boatman on behalf of Ken Bates” (does this mean bates owns Chateau Fiduciaire SA) – I think this is correct.

    • Colin

      From what I can gather, the only thing I would add is that Peter Boatman is part of Château Fiduciare – this is a Geneva-based financial administrator of Leeds’ holding company, Forward Sports Fund. The reason it’s managed in Switzerland is because they legally do not have to share information on their investors outside of Switzerland. (So UK can’t get info on these companies).

      Boatman is also a director of FSF and was passed by the league as ‘fit and proper’.

      FSF have 10,000 shares. Bates is not part of CF or FSF and doesn’t get a fee from Leeds United or FSF, but operates as Chairman on FSF’s behalf.

      Bates, as a non UK resident, can’t have a fee from or have ownership of Leeds as he would then be liable for UK Tax.

      The directors of FSF are the ones who operate FSF on behalf of the investors of FSF. And that’s where it goes quiet. The 10,000 shares are probably owned by various investment groups but this info is protected by the anonymity gained by being administered by CF.

      Astor previously owned FSF and Astor helped Bates to get the CVA agreed when coming out of administration by saying that they would back only the Bates bid. Now Astor is no longer part of Leeds United. And with Astor gone, so did any links between Leeds United and Ken Bates.

      FSF own Leeds United FC. But that in itself is not really that much (in football money) because they don’t own the key assets – Elland Road and Thorpe Arch. Leeds (FSF) have to pay rent for ER of £1-2m a year, so who owns ER? It was Jacob Adler, a Manchester businessman who bought it in the Krasner fire sale. He then sold it to Teak Commercial, a British Virgin Islands based company for £8m. NOTE: This sale happened when Bates was Chairman. Adler is still involved with Teak, but almost certainly not necessarily alone. The Teak ER setup is a way to get money out of FSF, without having to be disclosed. ie. FSF do have to say who they are as they own Leeds. But they don’t have to say who they are paying for ER. Teak is the vehicle to get money (let’s say £1.5m a year) out of Leeds United football club.

      This is all my own personal thoughts.

      Adler gets his cut of the £1.5m and then there’s money to spare. Who gets that? We don’t know and won’t find out any time soon. Teak is based in BVI so there’s no tax to pay on it. IMHO, that’s where Bates gets his money from. This way, he’s not attached to LUFC, he’s not attached to FSF, but he gets a lump sum each year. And in return he works as the Leeds Chairman for free for FSF.

  8. saltburnwhite

    anyway dont really matter either way we all know bates owns all or part of the club as why would you build and spend money building a hotel and whatever on someone elses property… the point is im sure they could have found say 1 million to get a descent striker in for the fans!

  9. Colin

    Someone should tell Greg Clarke that all the pits were shut down in the 80’s

    • TSS

      Almost all of them, I have a friend who works as some kind of mechanical engineer at Kellingley Pit and apparently that’s still going strong. Fuels the nearby power stations so i reckon that’ll be around for some time yet

      • Colin

        But do the villagers of Kellingley know who owns the pit? :)

    • timm

      He’s trying to be down with the fans! What a knob! He’ll be mentioning a campaign to let fans in with their whippets next! As im born & bred in a pit village i feel im well placed to call him a patronising twat!

  10. Colin

    “If the village loses the pit, it leaves the villagers devastated. It is the same with the local football club and the impact it would have on that town or city.”

    Most clubs aren’t owned by local investors anyway – they’re owned by business people who are trying to make money out of the club, And it’s quite amusing that these often shady business types are losing money rather than making any.

    “People, therefore, need to know who is running the pit and where they have come from. Every fan wants to know their club is in good hands and we are trying to put that information in place.”

    Only problem is what do you do if you find out that your club isn’t in good hands? As fans, we can’t get rid of them or find our own investors?

    I think it’s a publicity stunt by Clarke – I can’t see it making any real difference.

  11. Dje

    A Tory politician using the bleating-heart narrative of pit closures and its devastation on pit villages as a moral warning lesson for the need for fair play and transparency in the private sector of football club ownership. Oh the irony! Not sure whether to laugh or cry.

    • TSS


      Have to admit, I didn’t do my homework on this one (busy pretending to work) so I missed the irony of him being Tory! Well observed.

  12. Dje


    I was half-expecting him to turn out to have been a junior minister under Thatcher – a little ’80s George Osbourne with a Hitler Complex and a hatred of the North – but it turns out he’s too young for all that and probably was just a junior member of the ‘Young Tories’. Still, he should have known his party’s ill-at-ease history regarding mining.

    I see Preston have signed Darel Russell on a free, and we look as if we’re going with Fuseini instead.

  13. Colin

    Just been thinking – “If the village loses the pit, it leaves the villagers devastated. It is the same with the local football club and the impact it would have on that town or city.”

    Is this the same caring sharing Football League that hands out -25 points deductions for going and coming out of administration? – a punishment that the fans get but have had nothing to do with? a punishment that sends clubs like Leeds, Rotherham, Bournemouth perilously close to the wall? Unless you’re Luton of course, in which case you get -10 and then get a further -30, ultimately turning them from a Champ side into a club playing in the Conference.
    The football league don’t care about fans – those punishments hurt the fans, not the people who caused the problems in the first place.

  14. Mark R

    Ehh ?

    Ken Bates owns 49% of a pit in Kellingley & Arnold Muhren owns 51% of LUFC ?!?!

    Will the real Spartacus stand up ?


  15. Dje

    @Mark R

    I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Bates does actually own that Kellingley pit.

    If you head down to the deepest seam and then make your way due south-east, passing a cavalcade of Columbian drug mules, Nazi art loot, Palestinian arms smugglers, and Lord Lucan, you’ll finally emerge in the over-stocked wine-cellar of a swanky apartment in Monaco.

    Just don’t expect a welcoming smile.

    • Mark R

      It makes sense to me….
      Did you know that Ken Bates spelt backwards is SETABNEK …which, .. I have on good authority.. was the name of the Ancient God of Evil in Babylon … or in Ghostbusters…one of the two.


  16. Gryff

    My betting’s it is just Ken who owns the club.

    But it’d be hilarious to me if someone like Sir Alex Ferguson was a hidden owner!

  17. White to the core

    Alex Ferguson? Its bad enough with the scum fans wittering on about us being their feeder club. That really would be the icing on the cake. Very good

  18. richard

    When this never ending ownership issue turns up its time to get me headache tablets and lie down.

    Cant do with it anymore. :)

  19. TheReaper08

    @TSS You remember who it was that not so long ago said handing out leaflets and doing questions for Ken was pretty pointless. That calling Bates names was futile and would only make the old bugger dig in harder.

    I think it was the same person who said lobbying the league chairman might be more useful as here was someone who could in fact force the truth about ownership out.

    His names at the tip of my tongue……

  20. les irwin

    bates already has done what he needs to naming the owners on website .this is a waste of time law .clarke has already said as much today another tosser


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