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Big step towards notable change of ownership at Leeds United
11:38am Friday 28th September 2012 in Sport
Ken Bates’ seven-year spell as Leeds United owner appears to be coming to an end after the investment bank, Gulf Finance House, confirmed it had signed an “exclusive agreement” to lead a purchase of the Championship club.
The Bahrain-based company confirmed in a letter to the country’s stock exchange that GFH Capital, one of their subsidiaries, was to “lead and arrange” the purchase of Leeds City Holdings, who own the football club, although there was no mention of who they were acting for.
Leeds announced on June 26 they had entered an exclusivity agreement with unnamed investors, but details have been hard to come by since, with Bates’ admission on Saturday that he was talking to a Middle Eastern consortium being the first communication from Elland Road.
GFH have now said: “GFH would like to confirm that GFH Capital Limited, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Gulf Finance House, has signed an agreement to lead and arrange the acquisition of Leeds City Holdings, the parent company of Leeds United FC.”
David Haigh, GFH Capital’s deputy chief executive officer and chief operating officer, has been seen at Elland Road recently and tweeted: “Thank you for all your messages of support. They are very important to us. #LUFC”
Whether Haigh will be involved in any regime which replaces Bates remains to be seen – although it is understood the latter is keen to remain at Leeds as a consultant at the least.
He took over in 2005 following the club’s financial collapse and relegation from the Premier League and, despite initially overseeing a 15-point reduction and another relegation, he has helped the club to get back on a sound footing.
Fans have become increasingly frustrated with a perceived lack of investment, though, with the club no closer to returning back to the top flight than they were when Bates took over.