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Leicester City director bugged

THE CHIEF executive of Leicester City, Barrie Pierpoint, secretly taped meetings with his finance director, Steve Kind, in the thick of the bitter battle for control of the quoted Premier League football club.

The tapes were handed to Gilbert Kinch, a non-executive director, who played them on Radio Leicester last week during a heated interview about the power struggle at the club.

Mr Kinch, who supports Mr Pierpoint, was attempting to prove that Mr Kind is now on the side of the beleaguered chief executive. However, sources who heard the broadcast said the tape was inconclusive.

Mr Kind is the only director of Leicester City not to have chosen a public side in the battle for control of the club, taking on the role of peacemaker instead.

Mr Pierpoint admitted to The Independent on Sunday that he had not told Mr Kind that he was taping their conversation.

Asked why he taped the meeting, Mr Pierpoint said: "Lots of meetings have been taped for various reasons. I don't need to explain why I have taped it."

The unprecedented bugging follows attempts by Mr Pierpoint and Philip Smith, Leicester City's new chairman, to force out Sir Rodney Walker, the former chairman, and John Elsom, the director closest to the team manager, Martin O'Neill.

Sir Rodney and Mr Elsom stormed out of a board meeting two months ago. A couple of days later the company put out a statement saying they had resigned, prompting the company's brokers, Bell Lawrie Wise Speke, to quit too.

The two directors later denied that they had resigned and called for an extraordinary general meeting at which, they hope, shareholders will support them and oust Mr Pierpoint.

So many shareholders are expected to attend the meeting next month that Leicester City is considering holding it at the club's Filbert Street ground.

The boardroom row has overshadowed the strong performance of Leicester City in the Premier League but has coincided with problems over plans to move to a new ground. The developers behind the new ground have pulled out, citing problems securing planning permission.