Yorkshire Evening Post 3/7/15
The Professional Footballers’ Association has asked the Football League to impose a transfer embargo on Leeds United as punishment for non-payment of wages owed to Cameron Stewart.
The players’ union wants the League to bring sanctions against United amid the long-standing dispute caused by Stewart’s aborted transfer to Elland Road last summer.
Leeds are facing a bill in excess of £500,000 after pulling out of a deal to sign Stewart from Hull City a year ago.
The winger agreed a three-year deal when he joined Leeds on loan midway through the 2013-14 season but problems with the paperwork saw the Football League return the contract to Elland Road.
The original deal had been signed by former managing director David Haigh - one of United’s ‘authorised signatories’ at the time - but Haigh quit that role in April 2014 and was no longer registered as a signatory with the Football League.
Leeds owner Massimo Cellino refused to issue a replacement contract and Stewart’s free transfer from Hull fell through.
Stewart, who made 11 appearances for United during a largely unsuccessful loan, joined Ipswich Town instead.
The 24-year-old subsequently brought a claim against Leeds over the difference in wages agreed with United and Ipswich.
He won his case at a Football Association arbitration hearing in May and was awarded compensation of over £500,000.
Leeds have not paid the money, however, and the PFA is pressing the Football League to hit United with a transfer embargo.
The union has the power to request that penalty in situations where wages owed to players are unpaid.
Neither the PFA nor the Football League has made any comment on Stewart’s case.
Leeds have only recently emerged from a transfer embargo imposed on them in January for a breach of Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.
The club are making positive progress in the summer transfer market and striker Chris Wood became their fourth new arrival when he joined from Leicester City for a seven-figure fee on Wednesday.
United are now targeting a left winger and a central midfielder ahead of the start of the new Championship season.
Nottingham Forest winger Michail Antonio was identified as a possible option but United are likely to be priced out of a move for the 25-year-old.
Sheffield United’s Jamie Murphy is also a potential target.