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Bradford City chairman son defends father over fire allegations

The son of the former chairman of Bradford City has defended his late father over allegations that the fire disaster at Valley Parade was not an accident

56 fans died 30 years ago next month, in the worst ever fire tragedy at a football stadium. The most likely cause was a discarded cigarette.

A new book by survivor Martin Fletcher, who lost four members of his family, claims the former chairman Stafford Heginbotham was connected to a number of buildings which burned down before the disaster.

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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

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.

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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.

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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.

Leeds owner Cellino in court over tax evasion charge

Leeds United president Massimo Cellino is due to appear at a court in Italy today, according to reports.

Credit: Press Association

The 58-year-old faces another charge of tax evasion over unpaid VAT on a Range Rover.

Cellino is currently barred from playing any role at Leeds by the Football League.

He has already announced that he will not return to the club when his ban expires next month.

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