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.
- He’s not going away. Sepp Blatter, FIFA president, subject of numerous serious corruption allegations, and former president of the World Society of Friends of Suspenders, announced today he will stand for reelection in 2011. Blatter told the Gazzetta dello Sport “I’ve not finished my mission in football yet. I need more time. I hope that in 2011 the Fifa congress once more has faith in me, otherwise I’ll go back to my village. Football is my life.” Great.
- Didn’t I tell you yesterday the Sweden job would be too dull for Sven? (or, really, not lucrative enough…)
- The Offside traces back the origin of the recent Henry-to-MLS-rumour — and finds it had the basis in, well, nothing. While this isn’t too surprising, it’s an interesting look at how these rumours gain credence as they’re passed from site to site with no basis whatsoever.
- This year’s nominee’s for the U.S.’s Soccer Hall of Fame have been released, including MLS Commissioner Don Garber. Sadly, the Hall itself is itself in serious trouble. Let’s hope a way to preserve the history of the game here is found.
- Much of the British press focuses today on Liverpool’s match against Lyon, seen as a crunch game for Rafa Benitez, while Soccernet continues yesterday’s theme by warning that Champions League failure could mean financial meltdown for the club.
The Sweeper appears daily. For more rambling and links throughout the day every day, follow your editor Tom Dunmore @pitchinvasion on Twitter.