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New claims over 'coincidence' of Bradford City fire

A new book claims the 1985 fire at Valley Parade in which 56 people were killed may have been an arson attack.

It is alleged in Fifty-Six - The Story of the Bradford Fire that the fire was just one of at least nine fires at businesses owned by or associated with the club's then chairman Stafford Heginbotham, who died in 1995.

Stafford Heginbotham, left Credit: Press Association

The author, Martin Fletcher, was 12 when he escaped from the disaster with his life but lost three generations of his family; his father, grandfather and younger brother.

The book, being serialised in The Guardian, does not make any direct allegations but Fletcher says Heginbotham's history with fires, which he claims resulted in payouts totalling around £27 million in today's terms, warranted further investigation.

An inquiry at the time by high court judge Mr Justice Popplewell concluded that the fire was an accident.

West Yorkshire Police says the force would consider any new evidence about the fire.

The jury at the inquest in 1985 delivered a verdict of misadventure. However should any evidence come to light which was not available to Her Majesty's Coroner at the original inquest, then we will consider its significance and take appropriate action.

– Detective Superintendent Mark Ridley, of the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team


Kavanagh joins Wakefield on loan

Super League strugglers Wakefield Wildcats have signed Widnes forward Ben Kavanagh on loan for the rest of the season.

Credit: Press Association

The 27-year-old Scotland international is under contract with the Vikings until 2016 and has appeared in six of their 10 Super League matches so far this year but was not guaranteed a regular spot in coach Denis Betts' team.

"Ben is just on the edge of our first-team squad so the opportunity to play with the Wakefield team for the remainder of this season will give him the chance to get some regular first-team action," Betts said.

Wakefield, bottom of the table after losing their last eight matches, have been badly hit by injuries and have lost the services of George Griffin (Salford) and Jordan Hand (St Helens) following the expiry of their month-long loan deals.

Wildcats coach James Webster said: "I was lucky enough to have played with Ben at Widnes when he was just starting out his career. He will add some size and speed to an area we have been short in over the past six weeks."

Former QPR chairman linked with Bantams move

Former QPR chairman Gianni Paladini is in talks with Bradford over a possible takeover, according to Bantams joint-chairman Mark Lawn.

Paladini left QPR in 2011, following the takeover by Tony Fernandes, and has previously been linked with moves for Birmingham and Millwall.

Lawn told the Telegraph and Argus: "We have signed a confidentiality undertaking and we are talking to him."

Paladini's previous attempt at a takeover was reported to be at Millwall, but chairman John Berylson played those down in January 2014.

Berylson said: "I have absolutely no interest in selling Millwall to Mr Paladini, who I have never even met nor have any intention of meeting, or anyone else."

Bradford are currently 11th in the Sky Bet League One table following Tuesday's 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Bristol City, which sealed the Robins' promotion to the Championship.


Bradford City confirm takeover talks

Bradford City are in negotiations about a possible takeover, it has been confirmed.

Bradford City co-chairman Mark Lawn Credit: Press Association

Co-chairman Mark Lawn has confirmed that talks have begun with former QPR chairman Giovanni Paladini about a possible takeover.

We have signed a confidentiality undertaking and we are talking to him.

– Mark Lawn

Paladini, 69, is the former agent of Benito Carbone.

Tour de Yorkshire podium jerseys unveiled

Three Tour de Yorkshire podium jerseys have been unveiled.

Credit: Tour de Yorkshire

They have been designed by a company founded in Leeds.

Milltag, founded by Leeds-born Ed Cowburn and his business partner Pete Kelsey, have been creating designer cycling kit for five years.

A fourth and final jersey will being unveiled tomorrow.

Credit: Tour de Yorkshire
Credit: Tour de Yorkshire
Credit: Tour de Yorkshire

The major international cycling race will be held on the 1st – 3rd May with the routes for the three days taking the event through some of the county’s most spectacular scenery.

Grassroots football project gets green light in Sheffield

A multi-million pound grassroots football project is set to get underway in Sheffield, after planning permission was granted for the first of the new pitches this afternoon.

Credit: Press Association

It's part of a scheme under which Sheffield City Council and The FA will invest around £9.6m in a new wave of football hubs.

Officials say it is the biggest-ever single investment in outdoor sports facilities in the city, with the majority of funding coming from national sources.

The first of the new football facilities, for which planning permission was granted today, will be built at the Graves Tennis and Leisure Centre site, off Bochum Parkway, in the south of the city.

A new £16m leisure centre is currently under development on the site, adjacent to the existing tennis centre, and is set to open in summer 2016.

The Graves development, to be operated by Places for People Leisure, will include a six-lane 25m swimming pool, a separate learner pool, a major new fitness suite and studios, two additional indoor tennis courts and Sheffield’s first-ever dedicated gymnastics and trampolining centre.

It will also incorporate health and research facilities as part of the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine (NCSEM), bringing health and wellbeing services under one roof.

The footballing facilities will incorporate two state-of-the-art floodlit 3G artificial pitches and a pavilion with changing rooms, a club room and education space. Drainage improvements will also be made to one existing grass pitch on the site.

Reports: Leeds owner's Range Rover trial postponed until June

Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino's Range Rover tax evasion case has been postponed until June 23, according to reports in Italy.

Credit: Press Association

The prosecution wants Cellino to be fined €40,000 for allegedly evading VAT during the purchase of the Range Rover in the United States.

Earlier today, a court in Cagliari postponed the hearing until June 23 with Cellino himself not in attendance.

Cellino also has a court hearing on June 5 for allegedly evading tax on the Lucky 23 yacht.

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