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SBD Global/April 10, 2013/International Football

Leeds United Chair Ken Bates Faces Disrepute Charge From FA After Ofcom Report

League Championship side Leeds United Chair Ken Bates is facing calls for a charge of bringing the game into "disrepute" to be brought against him, according to James Riach of the London GUARDIAN. The Office of Communications ruling upheld a complaint of "unfair treatment and unwarranted infringement of privacy" from the Leeds United Supporters' Trust. Leeds United Supporters' Trust Chair Gary Cooper has called on the FA to "hold Bates accountable" after broadcasting regulator Ofcom's report found that "he used his position as the Leeds chairman to access computer files and broadcast private information through the club's in-house station Yorkshire Radio." Ofcom, the independent regulator for the U.K. communications industry, found that two separate interviews with Bates, broadcast in February '12, "were likely to have materially or adversely affected listeners' views of Mr. Cooper" and that "Mr. Cooper's privacy was unwarrantably infringed." A disrepute charge against Bates "has been held in abeyance by the FA since August last year." Cooper has demanded a full apology and believes that Bates "has manipulated his authority as club chairman" (GUARDIAN, 4/8)

LOOKING INTO IT: Ofcom has "opened an investigation into whether Sky's stance amounts to 'undue discrimination,' which would be a breach of rule 4.1 of the Broadcasting Code." The Ofcom investigation is "expected to last up to 10 weeks, or 50 working days" from March 18, and so a decision might not be announced until the last week of May (MEDIA WEEK, 4/9).

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