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BBC barred from Leeds United

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled "BBC barred from Leeds United" was written by Jamie Jackson, for The Guardian on Friday 5th August 2011 18.23 UTC

Ken Bates has in effect banned the BBC from covering Leeds United beyond contractual obligations due to a dispute over a TV documentary being made by BBC Leeds regarding the club's ownership. It is being presented by David Conn of the Guardian, with this newspaper also currently banned from the club due to its reporting into Leeds.

The BBC discovered the ban earlier this week when BBC Radio Leeds was not admitted to a press conference held ahead of the new Football League season, which starts tonight when Blackpool visit Hull City.

The club said it will co-operate on all contractual obligations with the BBC. Yet beyond these none of its outlets will be granted admission to press conferences or be allowed time with a player or manager before or after a match unless legally bound to do so.

A spokesperson for Leeds United told the Guardian: "The club will fulfill all of its contractual requirements with the BBC."

Discussions between the BBC and the club are planned for next week to try and resolve the dispute over the restricted access. It is understood that lawyers from the corporation contacted United on Friday morning regarding the matter.

One option currently under consideration by the corporation is whether to drop coverage of United from all outlets for the time being. Executives at the BBC point to Norwich City, which banned BBC TV causing the corporation to withdraw its radio and other media coverage.

The corporation is contracted to show 10 live league games this seasons so Leeds would have to allow coverage if a match involving the club is chosen.


Who owns Leeds has not always been clear, with one or more offshore entities being in control since Bates became chairman in 2005 until the former Chelsea owner stated in May that he had purchased the club via an investment vehicle Outro Ltd, which is registered in Nevis, a tax haven in the West Indies. The Football League is actually still considering whether to contribute to the documentary.

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