The Sweeper: Leeds United Ban The Guardian For Telling Truth


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The Guardian, and particularly Football Supporters’ Federation writer of the year David Conn, have provided Britain’s best newspaper coverage of the ugly underbelly of the finances at British football clubs across England for quite some time. Leeds United have been the subject of considerable coverage by Conn recently, as he has uncovered the club’s ownership mystery via public court records, embarrassing Leeds chairman Ken Bates.

Leeds’ response? To ban the Guardian and Conn from reporting at Elland Road at their game against Norwich in League One. As Conn explains, “the Guardian will not be reporting from the game because, we were informed this afternoon, we have been “banned” from Elland Road. The reason given was that this is the club’s reaction to the articles I have written recently, which have reported that there is a mystery about who owns Leeds United. That is a matter of public record, because it emerged in a court case Leeds United as a club has itself brought against a company in Jersey.”

This is a terribly childish response by Leeds. I’ve led with this piece and hope others link to Conn’s article to put Leeds in the ugly spotlight they deserve, and to give even more attention to Conn’s original reporting, which was nothing but quality, fair-minded journalism. Ken Bates and Leeds should be ashamed of themselves, though sadly, they won’t be.

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