Ed Balls is returning to Leeds United’s board of directors after giving up the position as a director because of continuing health issues. The former MP will chair a board that already includes the club’s new chairman Andrea Radrizzani, a former Italian billionaire who took control of the club from Massimo Cellino two months ago.
“As executive director of The Telegraph Media Group I was unable to devote the required time to these matters and so I hereby tender my resignation from the board of directors of Leeds United,” Balls said in a statement on the club’s website. “The board of directors of Leeds United would like to place on record their appreciation of my efforts on behalf of the club during my time as executive director of the club and wish me every success for the future.”
Balls was appointed in 2013 as a director on the recommendation of Cellino, who was initially able to buy Leeds out of administration because he personally guaranteed the club’s debts.
But the relationship between the two men fell apart this year, Cellino suing Leeds and later filing a winding-up petition against the club. Cellino is now serving a six-month suspended jail sentence for failing to pay British taxes to the Italian authorities.
It is not yet clear what role Balls, who played in the 1977 World Cup for England, will have in the team. Radrizzani said at the end of July that he would be a surprise addition to the board but decided against pursuing a permanent seat.
The new board and Radrizzani’s arrival, along with a German coach, Marcelo Bielsa, will be made official at a news conference on Tuesday.
Leeds will open their pre-season against Scottish champions Celtic on Wednesday.