It has been revealed today that Ken Bates is the owner of Leeds United Football Club.

The news follows speculation in the media about the ownership of the club and its compliance with Football League and FA regulations. The revised details of the club’s ownership have been submitted to the FA, the Football League and the Premier League. The ownership structure has been confirmed to be in compliance with regulations by the Football League and Premier League while there are no anticipated problems for securing approval from the FA.

Until now the ownership of Leeds United could be traced as far as FSF Limited, a company incorporated in Nevis and comprised of three unknown trustees. According to the club, who claim to have never had any doubt over the legitimacy of the ownership, FSF Limited is now owned by Outro Limited which is wholly owned by Ken Bates, chairman of the club. The fee paid is undisclosed.

This means that Ken Bates is the controlling shareholder of Leeds United Football Club.

The club issued the following statement:

Leeds United Football Club Limited (‘LUFC’) the company that holds the share in the Football League, is a member of the West Riding County Football Association and an Associate Member of the Football Association.

LUFC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Leeds City Holdings Limited (‘LCH’).

LCH has five unconnected shareholders, four of these hold 27.15% collectively with no one of these holding more than 10% of the issued shares.

FSF Limited (a company incorporated in Nevis) holds 102,000,000 or 72.85% of the issued shares.

On the 26th April 2011, FSF Limited was acquired by Outro Limited.

Outro Limited is wholly owned by Mr K W Bates and is registered in Nevis, West Indies.

On this basis, Mr K W Bates is deemed to be the controlling shareholder of LUFC.

May 3 2011

The Chairman and board must have felt under sufficient pressure to initiate this move and disclose the club’s ownership. It had been suggested numerous times that Ken Bates may have originally owned the club, the legality of which some questioned following the move into administration.

From the perspective of fans, it realises the fears of many. However, perhaps it is a case of better the devil you know. At least now we know the owner of the club, whereas the three trustees of FSF Limited remain as shadowy as they ever did. This may though end any hopes for significant investment in the playing squad considering Bates’ reputation.

While attempting to make the ownership more transparent it simultaneously throws up a number of questions about the previous ownership and the new deal. Although Bates claims he never owned the club, it may be the case that Bates was one of the original shareholders as part of FSF Limited and he, through Outro Limited, has acquired the remaining shares. As far as I am aware this would be perfectly legal.

The implications of this move are yet to be known and the timing does seem strange. For now it seems we will have to wait for our numerous questions to be answered.