Leeds chief Harvey insists no problem with ownership structure

Leeds United chief executive Shaun Harvey insists there's no concern over their mysterious ownership structure.

Leeds United chief executive Shaun Harvey insists there's no concern over their mysterious ownership structure.

Leeds' ownership structure came under the microscope at the culture, media and sport select committee's inquiry into football governance at a hearing at Burnley FC on Tuesday.

Harvey said Leeds are owned by a holding company called FSF, based in the West Indies island of Nevis and owned by three discretionary trusts. The trustees have appointed two men, Patrick Murrin and Peter Boatman, to run the club and they had asked Bates to be chairman.

Harvey told the committee: "I don't know who the beneficiaries of this discretionary trust are, no."

Asked if chairman Ken Bates knew, he replied: "Not to my knowledge."

He added: "There is no individual [owner], that's the nature of discretionary trusts - it's a perfectly legal and much-used ownership structure in many different industries, not just football."

One MP, Damian Collins, queried whether that was a healthy state of affairs.

He said: "With a club like Leeds United the majority shareholding is owned by a mysterious trust and we don't know who the investors are and I think that is a legitimate concern."

Harvey insisted: "The football club has no debt. There's no indication that there's any desire [from the discretionary trusts] to move away from the investment.

"I am convinced now that the light at the end of the Elland Road tunnel is the way out rather than the train coming in the opposite direction.

"We have gone from a very low point and are ascending a ladder of success though we've not achieved anything yet, there are still nine games to go this season. The reality is that it is the board of directors who are responsible for the running of the football club, not shareholders."

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