After months of speculation a Dubai-based consortium "confirm" they are to takeover control of Leeds United
Leeds remain the subject of a takeover bid but it is only progressing slowly, according to chairman Ken Bates.
Leeds United chairman Ken Bates has been ordered to pay £10,000 to a former director who sued him for harassment.
We have been speaking to Gary Cooper, Chair of the Leeds United Supporters' Trust, as the club's takeover bid is completed.
The deal sees GFH Capital Limited, which has financially supported the club since entering into an exclusivity period, injecting further funds and helping to strengthen the team.
GFH Capital executive David Haigh will join the board immediately, with GFH Capital executives Hisham Alrayes and Salem Patel joining in December.
Ken Bates will remain as Chairman for a transition period until the end of the season, after which a new chairman will take over. Bates will become club President.
"I can confirm we have now completed all the negotiations with GFH Capital. We have completed the first part of the purchase and they will be taking over 100 per cent of the club. Meanwhile, there is a transitional period while they get to know more about the club.
"I will continue as chairman until the end of the season when I will take over as president and I look forward to sitting back and taking more time off. Neil Warnock will continue as manager and we look forward to a smooth transition.
– Ken Bates, Leeds United chairman
"One thing I can say that has benefited from the negotiations is that this six-month courtship has given GFH Capital the opportunity to see the strengths and weaknesses and what needs to be supported. You can look forward to a smoother transition than we've seen at a lot of clubs.
"I'd like to thank, on behalf of Susannah and myself, the tremendous support we have received over the years, particularly over the last 12 to 18 months which hasn't been easy, but has made us more determined to see the job through."
Dubai-based investment bank, GFH Capital Limited has today signed the deal for the acquisition of Leeds United Football Club. The signing of the deal marks the start of a one-month transitional period in terms of full change in ownership and control of the club.
Following Football League approval, GFH Capital Limited will be 100% shareholders.
The takeover of Leeds United by the Middle East private equity investing company GFH Capital could be just a matter of days away.
Talks between GFH Capital and Leeds United chairman Ken Bates began back in May, with those discussions now entering a 7th month. The fee to acquire the club is believed to be in the region of £44 million - with GFH Capital having already invested a substantial amount to help with running costs.
But according to sources discussions could be coming to a head. However some suggestions that the takeover could be completed before the weekend have been played down.
Leeds United and the Dubai firm in talks with the club about a takeover deal are a step closer to sealing the deal this morning, as they release a joint statement stating funds for the takeover bid are now in place.
As an obligatory part of this stage of the talks, GFH Capital, which has already provided £2m to the Club with further funds available, has now provided the Leeds United FC owners and management with the necessary proof that it has the funds available to close this transaction.
– Ken Bates, Leeds United Chairman
"It's been a long road but we are in a good place. Both sides have been in talks over the last few days to finalise this deal. We are keeping focused and hope to complete very soon. The inaccurate reporting of certain journalists who will remain unnamed does not help the situation. Their articles, based upon a lack of knowledge of the intricacies of the deal and the full facts of the positive intentions of GFH Capital, achieve little and lead only to retractions or public apologies at a later date."
– Salem Patel, Board Director and Chief Investment Officer, GFH Capital
"We understand there is some concern related to how Leeds United would be run under our stewardship. It remains important to be clear that Shari'ah law will not hinder this transaction nor will it affect the future operations of the club. Our intention is to provide investment which will facilitate a successful and sustainable future for Leeds United on and off the pitch."
Leeds United Chairman Ken Bates today paid the price for a campaign of harassment against a former director of the club. He was ordered to pay £10,000 damages to businessman Melvyn Levi and now Leeds could be facing a legal bill of around half a million pounds.
The two men fell out following Mr Bates' takeover of the club in 2005. David Hirst reports.