Potential Leeds United leap-frog date is set..

I’ve kept quiet on the Leeds United appeal against their 15 point deduction until now, waiting to understand exactly what is going on with the case.  Ken Bates has continued to campaign that the 15 point deduction was unjust, arguing that not only were they punished twice, but the nature in which the decision was basically in the hands of their competitiors.

My understanding is there will be an arbitration panel with representatives from Leeds United and the Football League – which Leeds have accepted reluctantly, preferring the public nature of the courts for their battles, owing to the likely feet-dragging allowing the decision point to go beyond the end of the season, by which point presumably points can’t be retrospectively reallocated.

Bates is certainly shrewd, whatever else you may say about him, so I can’t imagine he would have proceeded so continually unless he felt there was a chance that it would happen.  Indeed, if you check out The Bookmakers, who are seldom wrong, they are offering longer odds on them getting nothing back, than getting all 15 back currently.

There are three ways I can see this going, given the remit of the arbitration panel:

  • The panel deems the punishment meted appropriate to the financial irregularities in Leeds’ exit from adminstration – result, no points returned.
  • The panel deems that the irregularities did not warrant any punishment at all, with Leeds being deducted 10 points last season (despite being all but relegated already) – this was distasteful, but my understanding was it was a legitimate loophole in place.  Result, all points returned.
  • The panel deems that Leeds’ financial irregularities was punishable by a points deduction, but the level of deduction was too much/too little.  Result, less than 15 points awarded, or a further deduction.

Not the most clear conclusion, I guess, but it puts another layer of complexity on our already fragile hopes of automatic promotion.  A return of the fifteen points to Leeds (regardless of whatever I may or may not think about this), would see Leeds – currently admittedly – leapfrog from 7th straight to second on 65 points, three points clear of Doncaster, nine points clear of us.

I can be quite philosophical about it, because to be honest, I don’t think we have much chance of getting that second spot now – however, if the points were returned and the standings were similar, or indeed, if we went on a run and climbed up there only to be shoved back down through Leeds being awarded further points, then naturally I’d be gutted – just on a purely selfish and biased level, regardless of the facts or justice (or lack of).

Regardless of the fact-based decision making of the arbitration panel, and I can’t really comment on this as frankly the financial machinations of Ken Bates’ Leeds United are beyond people with far greater expertise in business practice than I there is a softer point that Leeds did psychologically benefit from the point deduction – whilst they would undoubtedly be contenders for promotion (and indeed, still are despite the deduction), I’m not sure they’d be quite so far up the table as they would end up with a restoration of their point deduction.

I have severe doubts that they would have flown out of the blocks quite so emphatically were it not for the opportunity to right the perception of a gross misjustice that the Ken Bates PR machine spun with great alacrity.  Of course, that kind of impact is impossible to measure beyond blatant hypothesising on my part – which I make no apologies for, I think there’s only one person on the planet who understands the financials of that football club – which is a worry!

So keep an eye out on the news from April 14th when the independent arbitration will apparently commence.  There’s no real precident for this in the past to my knowledge, the nearest I can think of was the Sheffield United row with West Ham over the dodginess of their fielding of Tevez – which dragged on to the point the Blades were already down.

I’m deliberately not getting into the rights or wrongs – I’m writing this from a Forest perspective and the fact of that matter appears to be there is a risk that we could end up cast further adrift from the race for automatic promotion, which would be a major problem for us.

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18 Responses

  1. Yes, I’m a Leeds fan and I don’t understand the rights and wrongs of what went on last summer, but, whatever went on hasn’t in any way helped us amass the number of points we have gained this season. What fans of other clubs have to think is not that we are getting points “back”, just that we are being given the total number of points earned this season – the same as every other club.

  2. It was my understanding that Leeds were docked the 15 points for failing to file a CVA when they came out of administration, not for actually going into administration last season. So the 15 point penalty has nothing to do with Leeds exploiting a loophole, which they were quite entitled to do.

  3. I can see your point, John – but the fact is those points weren’t there (in all league tables except those printed in your programmes), so from our point of view they would be ‘back’… I’m not gonna get drawn on the validity of whatever happens, because frankly I’m quite happy to admit I’m not well-informed enough about the minutiae of details surrounding the case.

  4. Hi there, I am a Leeds United fan and would just like to say how refreshing it is to read an article written about our 15 point deduction, by a rival supporter, that is not a piece of completely biased, uninformed rhetoric.

    I completely agree that we would probably not have had the start to the season we did if the 15 points had not been deducted, but as you say that is a hyperthetical situation. Ideally I would like us to go up in the second auto promotion spot without any points being given back, however I feel that bar an amazing run from now until the 3rd of May that this is out of our reach.

    If we must go through the agony of promotion via the play offs then I would like to see Forest go up in second place. Neither club should be anywhere near this tin pot, no under soil heating, change your kick off time because our crumby towns don’t have the police to cope with your away support, Mickey Mouse league.

    Good luck to you for the rest of the season, as long as it’s not at our expense!!

  5. Tough one isn’t it? If we were in Swansea’s place, we could afford to say “Good luck to Leeds”, as we’d be safely up and not in the dogfight. From an outsider’s point of view, it seemed to me that Leeds did no more than dirty Leicester – exploited a loophole in the naive rules that are used to run the fair game. Many of those loopholes were closed after Leicester got away with blatant non-payment of debts by pointing at a mirror and saying “It was him, your honour.” If Ken Bates has found another hole then good luck to him. Yes, we will be one of the teams to miss out, but we lost out on millions of pounds in Europe because of Heysel, so it’s not a new situation. This season we are a play-off team at best, so if it’s 3rd or 6th who cares? We all know we will bottle the play-offs, so it’s all one to me.

  6. Now there’s a depressing appraisal! Hard to argue with, though.

  7. I’ve heard the ‘-15 points helped you start the season well’ argument a few times now. I would agree there is some possible merit in it. However, before the season started no-one was saying it was going to be helpful – most people were saying it would be a millstone around our necks and would drag us down into League Two. It’s therefore to our credit that we responded in a positive fashion rather than go the other way.
    The contrary argument is that our current bad form is related to the -15 as well as our original good form. This could be in two ways
    1. The team were mentaly shattered by having to start the season so well and still only just being in the play offs.
    2. Had we had the 15 we would (before our bad run started) been well clear of the 2nd place and been much more relaxed regards losing the odd game – less pressure tends to lead to better performances for most players. As it is the defeats meant we we’re soon struggling to make the top 2 and then even play off places.

    Finally, thanks for admitting you don’t understand the in’s and out’s of the Leeds appeal etc. This doesn’t usually stop dickheads spouting off on the subject! As a Leeds fan who has business finance knowledge I understand it better than most and what the league did went against natural justice. However it can be claimed that it was within the Leagues rules and if we don’t like go and play in some other league.

    For background, the reasons why it was unjust are:
    1. The decision on how to take the club out of admin was taken by KPMG administrators and not by Leeds United.
    2. The KPMG hands were tied because the Inland Revenue would not agree to a CVA and were prepared to go to court – this would result in Leeds not being allowed to start the new season so not a realistic option.
    3. The Inland Revenue would not agree because Football Creditors we’re given 100% of their debt and the Inland Revenue were not – they do not like other creditors getting better treatment than them.
    4. The Football Creditors get 100% because the League rules say you must pay them fully or you don’t get back into the league!
    A catch-22 if I ever saw one.
    Good night and I hope you finish one place behind Leeds

  8. Thanks – I’m not sure if I’ve just been called a dickhead or not! 😆

    I didn’t try to decide what the outcome should be, as frankly, I have no idea! Take your point on the possiblility of misjustice driving the good start type stuff – both the physical and mental investment in this would take a heavy toll on any squad of players for sure. I’m sure that losing Poyet (maybe even Wise) was also a factor in the form stuttering though.

    Either way, I wish you no malice – naturally I want the best for Forest, and since this decision does affect them it bears some interest from us down the M1. As a couple of Reds fans have commented, given the unlikely nature of us mounting a serious challenge for an automatic spot, so long as we can finish 5th or above, the outcome probably would in reality have minimal impact on us regardless.

  9. I’m a Leeds fan and I’d like to echo Daniel’s sentiment. Nice to see some good honest comment from a fellow football fan. Perhaps as a fan of a “Fallen Giant” you have an inherent sympathy for our position?

    I think we’ve flattered to deceive all season to be honest, and the 15 point “deduction” (let’s not forget that word…) has played on the minds of opponent far more than it has on us. If we get the points back (I’d settle for 10 back to be fair, but I fear it’s all or nothing), then it’s no less that the players and fans deserve.

    I’ve hated seeing you guys down here for so long, I didn’t really like seeing Man City down either (though they are mancs…), and I hope to god that our stay in this tin pot league is mercilessly short…

  10. Very refreshing read which – for the first time yet from an away supporters website – attempts to stick entirely to fact!

    I am a Leeds fan, and do feel the 15 point deduction was unjust. Personally, I don’t agree with any points deduction for any team whatsoever, under any circumstances except foul play! This includes administration. I see no reason whatsoever as to why a squad of players and the thousands of fans that follow any of England’s teams should suffer because of the financial incomptence of their teams board.

    The above may be a little hard to work, as I appreciate some teams go into administration to avoid repayment of debt, as opposed to having no other choice. Obviously these teams should be punished, but each case should be treated individually, and independently!

    The Football League is supposed to look after the best interests of the clubs it represents. I see no evidence of this when it comes to administration, and feel the rules for it are an absolute joke. It’s essentially kicking teams when they’re down!

  11. Dear El Tel,

    As my Leeds-supporting friends tell me, it is nothing to do with rules OR natural justice.

    It’s because “everyone hates you” apparently.

    They also tell me that they don’t care!

    (And possibly sing it at the game!)

  12. Whether we finish 4th or 6th it is up to us to show the rest of the play off teams that WE deserve to go up.If we can’t win the playoffs we are not good enough to be promoted .Simple as that !!!!

  13. There can be no justification for the 15 point deduction and the basis on which it was voted for by chairmen of other clubs who stood to benefit from the decision would be laughed out of every court in the land and Europe.

    The other issue is the way that the League tried to gag Leeds United by only agreeing to give back the golden share (and thus allow us to play) if they agreed not to pursue any further legal action. Now I’m nit a lwayer, but that doesn’t sound lawful to me.

    The League are in a terrible situation and can only have agreed to arbitration to avoid something worse. My own view is that some points must be coming back.

    Let’s not forget that we DID have a CVA in place and the club was sold back to Ken Bates who than proceeded to clear the football debts as is required by the League.

    HMRC then mounted a legal challenge to that process and the case was due to be heard in the High Court AFTER the 2007-2008 season had started effectively killing the club. KPMG then bought back the club and proceeded to invite offers.

    Again Bates’ offer was the best, but because the football debts had been cleared HMRC could now effectively block any CVA (because their share of the overall debt was bigger) and they did. In no other area do other creditor have preference over the tax man and this anachronism will be challenged by HMRC until they win.

    Regardless of mine and any other fan’s view of Bates 🙂 he and Leeds did nothing wrong. There is no way any club can get a CVA if the HMRC decide otherwise so we won’t be the last to be in this position.

    Lets not forget we paid a large portion of our debts selling our ground and our training facilities to fund the financial fallout from the previous board. It’s a lose – lose situation for any fan of any club and the League aren’t fit to run my local junior team let alone the Football League.

    It’s a well written objective piece.

  14. Leeds will not get any points back from their deduction for failure to supply a CVA report after going into administration so lets get on witht the job in hand and hunt down carlise.

    You reds

  15. Leed will not get any points back from the deduction they recieved for not fileing a CVA report after going into administration so lets get on with the job in hand and hunt down the spawny carlisle.

    You reds

  16. Leeds can rot in Hell as far as I’m concerned; levelling Elland Road and sowing salt in to the soil is clearly the only viable solution. It’s just a pity the arbitration panel can only uphold the original punishment.

    We all know that Leeds were in a shambolic state in the closed season, they were playing that badly that it’s quite conceivable that they would have kept on falling this season. The points deduction united the Club, fans and management in a shared sense of injustice and to think that they would have accumulated the points they did by the end of November is a joke.

    Leeds were happy enough to agree to stop any legal challenge when they were fighting to get back in to the League, carrying on with the action just shows untrustworthy they are.

  17. A refreshing article – however the bit missing is the conspiracy theory that if Leeds looked likley to gain an automatic slot the miscarriage of justice points deduction would stand, I think the author mentioned that Ken Bates was shrewd! – I would add to that label wily old fox (apologies to Leicester) – I cannot help but feel there was some arrangement that if Leeds dropped out of the top six the football league would seriousley look at re awarding the 15 points. The odds at the bookies reflect that.

    I missed the current Leeds forest game but the last time I saw Leeds v Forest Trevor Francis was playing (we lost)

  18. Why does everyone keep talking about Leeds getting points back.
    I am a leeds fan even thoughI now live in Valencia, Spain.
    Leeds had points illegally stolen and the points they have won on the pitch are the only measure of this seasons performance.
    Any other club who whinges should remember that it could be them next time who get stuffed by their own fellow members because th eVAT office will attack every other club in the same way they did Leeds thereby making it impossible for them to comply with the league ruling.
    Leeds did achieve a CVA in line with the league rules until the VAT office scuppered it – it was not Leeds uniteds choice!
    Give us the points back and judge this season on results not mean minded prejuduced managers voting us down when we needed support.

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