Salman Rushdie supports Leeds United after Massimo Cellino changes board

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Rushdie says he supports United after asking for an explanation about the removal of silverware

British author Salman Rushdie told BBC Sport he supports Leeds United after the dismissal of Mr Bates.

The club’s owner Massimo Cellino has ordered the creation of a new squad, based entirely on youth players.

The takeover finally came to a head on Tuesday when Bates and fellow director Adam Pearson resigned from the board.

“Obviously I’ve spent a lot of time in this city,” Rushdie told BBC World Service Sport Extra.

“There is a lot of recognition that there has been chaos here in the last four or five years.

“I wish it would end and I think there will be a lot of money spent, a lot of talent recognised at a young age. It will have to be a completely new club but it has to have the right personality and the right approach.”

Former Leeds owner Bates had not attended Leeds’ last three matches in 2018, which had already led to a UEFA club licence review, which found the club in contravention of club licensing rules.

Cellino, who controls three Italian clubs and co-owns Pescara with American businessman Ira Rennert, had previously threatened to sell the club following disputes with the club’s board and in the court system.

He said the changes will finally allow Leeds to “focus on playing and giving out winning performances, whatever team we put out”.

Cellino’s business partner and advisor Vince Power, who was appointed as general manager last summer, has also been sacked.

Vince Power’s dismissal comes after a BBC Sport investigation revealed a link between Leeds chairman Massimo Cellino and an Italian criminal trial in 2014

United legend Dave Hockaday has been appointed head coach, bringing to an end an 11-game spell as caretaker following Neil Redfearn’s departure in May.

The Italian has admitted he will move on after his contract expired on Saturday.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Hockaday (left) played for Leeds from 1978 to 1983, helping them win the League Cup in 1984

Talks on ending the boardroom dispute were reported to have started on Friday.

Cellino had been in talks with Massimo Cervelli, a former chairman of the San Pietro di Siena club, who is a half-brother of former player Masimo Cervelli, about buying a stake in Leeds in 2016.

But the deal collapsed because Cellino said he was not allowed to move from Italy.

But Cellino is understood to be in discussions with Cellino’s brother, Mario, over possibly buying a minority stake in the club.

Cardiff-born Cellino owns Genoa and Pescara in Italy and now divides his time between the countries.

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