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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 2, 2006

Bates reports Chelsea over 'tap-up'

Leeds chairman Ken Bates has accused his former club of 'stealing' academy youngsters Michael Woods and Tom Taiwo and has urged the game's ruling bodies to put an end to Chelsea's 'continual flouting of the rules'.

The 74-year-old, who made a £17million profit when he sold Chelsea to Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich in 2003, feels financial punishments are a waste of time and has called for the Premiership champions to be suspended from the Champions League.

Chelsea insist they did not make illegal approaches for England Under-16 internationals Woods and Taiwo. A third Leeds youth player courted by the Londoners, Daniel Rose, opted to remain at Elland Road.

'The complaints have literally just been lodged so the Football Association will have to have time to consider them and find the appropriate mechanism for dealing with the complaint that we've raised,' said Leeds chief executive officer Shaun Harvey.

'We're in their hands now. It's for them to decide how to go forward - it's for them to dictate here on in the route to the end.'

Bates, who revealed he would also be making an official complaint to disciplinary chiefs of both FIFA and UEFA, added: 'We do understand that the matter will be dealt with expeditiously.'

The FA said they have not yet received an official complaint from Leeds.

An FA spokesman said: 'We have had communication from Leeds United on this subject but as yet no formal complaint.

'If this was received, we would give it due consideration.'

Bates, who paid a reported £10million to take control of Leeds in January 2005 shortly after ending a 22-year spell at Stamford Bridge, insisted: 'There is no personal vendetta between (Chelsea chairman) Bruce Buck or (owner) Mr (Roman) Abramovich and myself or Leeds or Chelsea.

'This is a straightforward dispute over the blatant breaching of Football League rules regarding to players which, of course, is consistent with other examples of Chelsea's illegal approaches to players.

'The most popular one, of course, is the Ashley Cole case - one where they are fined and had three points deducted (suspended).

'As of today we have reported Chelsea to the Football Association regarding the alleged tapping-up of three of our young players, Michael Woods, Tom Taiwo and Daniel Rose.'

Bates confirmed that in addition Leeds are taking separate legal action against former academy staff member Gary Worthington for his claimed part in the youngsters' defection to Chelsea.

Worthington spent five years at Leeds before leaving in July 2005 and taking up a similar post with Chelsea soon afterwards.

Bates continued: 'We have considerable and great weight of evidence to demonstrate quite clearly, without a shadow of doubt, that Chelsea behaved consistently aggressively in stealing these two players from Leeds United.

'It is not a question of punishing Chelsea for this latest breach. It is a question of stopping them doing it in the future.

'Because of the financial strength of the owner, financial punishments alone will make no difference to them at all.

'If you belong to a league or any competition, or a club or any organisation, there are rules. By continuing in that competition, there is implicit acceptance to play by those rules.

'If you don't wish to play by those rules and refuse consistently to do so, why should you be allowed to play in these competitions?

'We think, therefore, not only a financial punishment should be imposed but other punishments such as deduction of points, banning of registration of new players or suspension from European competitions would be more appropriate.'

Bates referred to FIFA president Sepp Blatter's recent remarks that the likes of Chelsea were damaging football.

'In recent weeks we've had Sepp Blatter complaining about Chelsea helping to destroy European football, the importance of youth football and development and urging even greater investment in youth.

'We've had Trevor Brooking last week reiterating the same thing - that more money should be spent on scholars and academies to produce English kids across the country in the hope that we can have a better show in the World Cups.

'But what's the point of doing that when big clubs just ignore the rules and do what they like with impunity?

'Where is the encouragement or even the justification to the other 91 clubs in England of having academies, schools of excellence or even youth teams?

'There is no point in it at all.'