Fri, Jul 13, 2007 - Page 23 News List

Bates relieved after purchasing sleeping giants Leeds United

OFFER ACCEPTED The Yorkshire side, not so long ago a major force in English soccer, went into financial administration in May, mired in debt

AP , LEEDS, ENGLAND

Leeds United were again sold to Ken Bates on Wednesday -- five days after financial administrators overruled his original plans to control the club and put it up for sale.

KPMG put Leeds up for sale last Friday after Britain's tax authority, the Inland Revenue, launched a legal challenge to Bates' original plans to buy back the club from administration.

"We received several offers for the business which we considered carefully," administrator Richard Fleming said.

"The approved deal represents the best result for creditors in the circumstances and we believe provides the club with the best chance for survival," he said.

massive debts

Leeds went into financial administration in May with reported debts of ?35 million (US$69.7 million). KPMG immediately sold the club to a new company under the leadership of Bates, who was chairman of the company that went into liquidation.

On June 4, Bates narrowly received enough creditors' votes to buy the club back, offering to pay one penny of every pound of the debt.

The Inland Revenue, which is owed ?7.7 million in unpaid taxes, lodged an appeal and KPMG put Leeds back up for sale.

Bates said he was relieved he now had control of Leeds.

"It's been a bit annoying and part of the delay has been caused by people who profess to love this great club, but have done their damnedest to cause as much trouble as they possibly can and for reasons other than the best interests of the club," Bates told Sky Sports News. "But that's all in the past now and the club is in a good position."

relegated

Leeds United were relegated to the third tier of English soccer -- League One -- for the first time in their history on May 4 when the club was docked 10 points after going into financial administration.

It came only six years after Leeds reached the Champions League semi-finals and seven after they finished third in the Premier League.

Bates, 75, who was previously the chairman and major shareholder of Chelsea, sold the club to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich in 2004. He bought Leeds in 2005.

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