In the wake of yesterday’s events, Leeds United’s Chairman Andrew Umbers has released a statement to the BBC’s Adam Pope.

As a club we have to make professional decisions. These may be unpopular and we, the Board, may be berated by the press and fans. It goes with the turf sometimes. But they are the right decisions. One by one we are sorting out our massive problems. It is all about making LUFC, once and forever, a proper football club again.

If we were selling this club, we would not be working 24/7. The club is not for sale.

Our young players are not for sale and, of course, contract negotiations are foremost in our mind and will be delivered. Our transfer embargo will be lifted soon and we will strengthen certain obvious areas.

Massimo Cellino cannot wait to come back and will be present at out end of season player dinner at Elland Road in early May.

Steve Thompson, the Assistant Head Coach who’d helped Neil Redfearn record the second-best form in the league since his arrival a few months back appears to be one of the “massive problems” he talks about.

Another ‘massive problem’ being ridiculed in the press is demands from within the Leeds United hierarchy to not play Mirco Antenucci in fear he’ll score twice more and trigger a clause which awards him with a contract extension of one additional year.

This would appear to be a motivating factor in Steve Thompson’s suspension. Neil Redfearn was cautious enough to have a clause written into his own contract which guarantees him first team selection. It’s alarming that he felt such a thing had to be written-in in the first place, but given the situation with Antenucci, it seems he was wise to do so. Many now believe Steve Thompson’s suspension was made in a petty attempt to clip Redfearn’s wings after he’d refused to yield to pressure from above regarding team selection.

Antenucci took to Twitter (Link 1, Link 2) to express his confusion while his agent has been seeking assurances from Salerno on the situation. Meanwhile, Liam Cooper made his feelings clear by favouriting a selection of Adam Pope’s tweets.

Clearly this has been an unpopular and unsettling decision, one that looks to have been made in a worrying attempt to influence team selection. Notwithstanding the fact Neil Redfearn MUST be allowed to pick players based solely on their performance in training and his own plan for each match, Mirco Antenucci signed a contract in good faith believing his performances would incur certain rewards. That people in Leeds United’s upper managerial structure would conspire to ensure he can’t meet said conditions sends a signal to other players that a contract with Leeds isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.