Players hold key to Leeds rescue hope

Leeds are expected this week to make further attempts to persuade their players to accept a referral of a proportion of their salaries, as it emerged that a consortium of four Yorkshire-based businessmen were formulating a takeover package.

Although numerous clubs are lurking in the shadows, with a predatory interest in certain players, particularly Alan Smith, Paul Robinson and James Milner, whom they would expect to pick up at a cut-price rate, the Leeds chief executive and acting chairman Trevor Birch is determined that no players will be sold in the coming week ­ the last six days of the January transfer window ­ with the possible exception of Danny Mills, who could be released for a fee of around £1m. The England defender is currently on loan at Middlesbrough but is also attracting interest from Birmingham City.

Birch has been desperately trying to hock any piece of Leeds that isn't nailed down as he strives to raise the £5m necessary to prevent them going into administration and maintain the club until the end of the season. Leeds' debts, including £60m owed to bondholders and £20m to the Guernsey-based Registered European Football Finance, which provided the cash for several transfers, £10m to the Inland Revenue, and £6m to their former managers, Terry Venables, Peter Reid and David O'Leary, are now said to total more than £105m.

Venables has been virtually paid off but is prepared to accept deferrals of what is owed, while Michael Kennedy, the agent of O'Leary, still owed half his £4m pay-off, has intimated that the Irishman may also be sympathetic to such an approach. Similarly, Reid commented: "If Leeds want to defer my payments then I am happy with that."

Clearly, it is to that trio's advantage that the club do not go into administration. Birch's hope is that the players will adopt a similar attitude. A total of 75 employees have already gone, but significantly none of the silver, the players, 18 of whom are earning over £1m, and in Mark Viduka's case £3m. The total players' wage bill is estimated at £40m.

Birch has already asked the players to accept a deferral of 30 per cent of their wages. They have agreed to that proposal ­ but only if the club first exhaust all other possibilities.

Gordon Taylor, the players' union chief executive, has accused Birch of trying to blackmail the players. However, with the deadline from creditors expiring tomorrow, there may be few alternatives unless a late rescue package by the anonymous quartet of businessmen can be agreed. With the scale of Leeds' debts that appears unlikely.

Meanwhile Uefa have poured cold water on suggestions that Russia should be thrown out of Euro 2004 because of a player's failed drugs test. The Football Association of Wales may lodge an official complaint after it was revealed Spartak Moscow captain Egor Titov tested positive for the stimulant bromantan after the first leg of the play-off with Wales on 15 November. The match in Moscow finished goalless with Titov an unplayed substitute. But he did play in the 1-0 win in Cardiff.

Wales' manager Mark Hughes has pointed out that the drug aids stamina but a Uefa spokesman Ron Faulk-ner said: "It is highly unlikely any such complaint would have any grounds for altering the result." The Football Union of Russia have said they will not appeal against Titov's 12-month ban and £4,420 fine.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Teeth should be brushed twice a day to prevent tooth decay
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League - but Mourinho is short of strikers
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London