Tag Archives: bahrain

Leeds buy-out not affected by Chris Kirkland assault

Thug won’t halt Leeds buy-out as Bahraini investors plough on with deal



23:37 GMT, 24 October 2012

The furore over Friday night’s assault on Chris Kirkland will not cost Leeds United the chance of a fresh start under prospective purchasers GFH Capital, Sportsmail can reveal.

Leeds chairman Ken Bates admitted he feared the Bahraini investment company may pull out of negotiations after seeing a fan run on from the away end at Hillsborough and floor Sheffield Wednesday keeper Kirkland with a double-handed blow to the head.

The intruder has since been arrested and jailed, but widespread condemnation of a flashpoint that once more put Leeds fans, as a whole, in the dock left Bates fearing the worst.

Assault: Chris Kirkland was attacked during Leeds' match with Sheffield Wednesday

Assault: Chris Kirkland was attacked during Leeds' match with Sheffield Wednesday

Writing in his programme notes for Tuesday night’s game with Charlton, he aired his misgivings that months of painstaking negotiations could have been scuppered, and said: ‘What message does that give to potential investors and commercial partners I don’t know what they must be thinking after watching Friday night’s events unfold.’

But Sportsmail understands GFH remain undeterred and are as determined as ever to conclude their discussions and assume control at Elland Road as soon as possible.

Though shocked by the images of Kirkland being struck to the ground, they evidently feel the actions of one individual do not represent Leeds’ fan base in its entirety.

Takeover talks have been underway since May, and Bates confirmed recently that the would-be buyers, a subsidiary of Gulf Finance House, had made an upfront payment of 2million in their quest to become Leeds’ new owners.

GFH wrote to the Bahrain stock exchange last month to inform them they were ‘leading the acquisition’ of Leeds and followed up by issuing a statement outlining their determination to steer the Elland Road club back into the Barclays Premier League.

That intent remains undimmed by the controversy surrounding a heated Yorkshire derby, and more talks are planned in an attempt to reach an agreement with majority shareholder Bates.

Peter Taylor sacked by Bahrain

Middle Eastern experiment over for Taylor after Bahrain ditch ex-England boss



00:00 GMT, 20 October 2012

Former England interim coach Peter Taylor has been sacked by Bahrain on Friday after spending 15 months in charge.

'It's the federation that have decided to change because recent results have not been good,' said the former Leicester City boss who led England for one game against Italy in 2000.

Taylor said that recent defeats were the result of the players not being match fit because of the lack of league matches.

Gone: Peter Taylor was sacked from his Bahrain role

Gone: Peter Taylor was sacked from his Bahrain role

He denied that political strife in Bahrain had affected performance.

'Some players have good talent but some players need to be stronger, they need to work on the physical side as well as the football side,' he added.

Bahrain, who have never reached a World Cup and are ranked 115th, were knocked out of 2014 Asian World Cup qualifying in the third round.

Leeds are like a young Pamela Anderson, says David Haigh

Leeds are like a young Pamela Anderson, says prospective chief as takeover looms



08:21 GMT, 9 October 2012

Leeds United are like a young Pamela Anderson – 'in great shape, with superb assets and a great future ahead of her', according to the man who hopes to complete his takeover of the club this month.

David Haigh, deputy chief executive of the Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House (GFH), revealed the Middle East consortium are closing in on buying the Championship club from current owner Ken Bates.

Young Pamela Anderson during her acclaimed Baywatch days

Leeds are on the brink of a takeover deal

You beauty: Leeds have been likened to a young Pamela Anderson (L) during her acclaimed Baywatch days

Football League blog

Talks opened in June between both parties with former Chelsea chairman Bates blaming lawyers for the delay.

Haigh – a Leeds fan – is confident the deal will be done within three weeks and wants to guide the Yorkshire outfit back to the promised land of the Premier League as quickly as possible.

'Leeds is like a young Pamela Anderson. It's in great shape, with superb assets and a great future ahead of her,' Haigh told The Sun.

Nearly done: David Haigh expects his takeover at Elland Road to be completed by the end of the month

Nearly done: David Haigh expects his takeover at Elland Road to be completed by the end of the month

'Like any big acquisition we have to be thorough and that's the process we're going through right now. We're almost there and, hopefully, within three weeks it could be done.

'We are working incredibly hard to get the deal done but there are procedures and rules which must be followed.'

Leeds takeover: Bank Gulf Finance House claim to have signed agreement

Middle-Eastern bank confirm Leeds takeover deal with Bates on way out



08:40 GMT, 27 September 2012

The Middle-Eastern investment bank, Gulf Finance House, have confirmed they have signed an exclusive agreement to lead a takeover of Championship side Leeds.

The financial future of the Elland Road club has been up in the air since Leeds, on June 26, revealed they had granted exclusivity to a potential investor.

Details remained thin on the ground after that, other than for the club to confirm the exclusivity period had ended, before, on Saturday, current owner Ken Bates broke his summer-long silence by admitting he was in talks with a group from the Middle East.

Getting what they wanted: Ken Bates is set to leave Leeds

Getting what they wanted: Ken Bates is set to leave Leeds

Leaving: Bates has been at the club seven years

Leaving: Bates has been at the club seven years

He entertained four businessmen in his box at the game against Nottingham Forest and on Thursday morning, in a letter released to the Bahrain Stock Exchange, GFH confirmed that one of their subsidiary companies, GFH capital, were the group operating on behalf of the potential purchasers.

The letter read: 'Further to the news published in the Gulf Daily News on the 25th and 26th Sep 2012, referring to the proposed acquisition of Leeds United Football Club (LUFC), GFH would like to confirm that GFH Capital Limited, a 100% subsidiary of Gulf Finance House, has signed an exclusive agreement to lead and arrange the acquisition of Leeds City Holdings, the parent company of LUFC.

'Due to a confidentially provision, no further details can be given about the commercial terms of the transaction.'

Any takeover of Leeds would end Bates' seven-year reign which has been largely dogged by supporter unrest.

Protests have regularly been staged against the former Chelsea owner for a perceived lack of investment.

There was no comment from the club on Thursday morning, although GFH did confirm to Sportsmail that the correspondence had come from them.

David Haigh, a Leeds fan, who is the deputy chief executive officer and chief operating officer of GFH Capital is thought to be the frontman of the takeover, but was also unavailable for comment.

Romain Grosjean snubs help from Sir Jackie Stewart

Stewart not on Romain's road as Lotus driver snubs help from three-time world champion



10:15 GMT, 20 July 2012

Romain Grosjean has spurned triple Formula One world champion Sir Jackie Stewart's offer of being a mentor this season.

Grosjean has so far enjoyed a strong first half of the campaign, finishing on the podium for Lotus in Bahrain and Canada to lie seventh in the standings with 61 points.

The Frenchman, however, has been involved in incidents which have potentially cost him points, resulting in Stewart coming forward to assist the 26-year-old.

All smiles: Grosjean (left) has declined the help from Sir Jackie Stewart

All smiles: Grosjean (left) has declined the help from Sir Jackie Stewart

Working as an ambassador this season for Lotus team owners Genii, the 73-year-old this week remarked: 'I said to Romain it would be a good idea if he came up home one day for lunch so we could have a bit of chat.

'It is ridiculous in Formula One we don't have coaches. I am not looking to be a coach, but I know I can help him.

'Racing drivers historically have not been great listeners, but I think I might be able to help.'

Grosjean has confirmed working with a mental coach from 2007 to 2009 when he was in Formula Three and GP2, but sees no need to work with Stewart on this occasion.

Help: Stewart offered to lend his advice to the Lotus driver

Help: Stewart offered to lend his advice to the Lotus driver

Phil Duncan F1 blog

Recent newlywed Grosjean said: 'He did offer, but the main issue is the schedule. It's very tight at the moment and I've a honeymoon to do.

'Obviously, it's very nice to have comments like that from a triple world champion.

'Let's see in the future. At the moment it's race after race, and the schedule is tight.

'You can always change. I used to work with a mental coach, but I don't feel I need one today.

'Maybe I'll feel different in the future. Things can change from week to week, but at the moment I'm happy with the way things are going.'

Grosjean concedes the team environment, and not least a raft of computers, aids a current Formula One driver.

'I appreciate other sportsmen have coaches to tell them what to do,' said Grosjean, referring to the likes of tennis and golf.

'We have the data and the computer, which is good for the driving point of view.

'Other sports they have a coach to tell them to put more slice on a ball or get a little closer to it, stuff like that.

'But racing is a bit different than other sports.

'Obviously it's also about trying to stay relaxed, trying to manage your stress, those kind of things.

'To be honest, with the people around me at the moment, with Gravity (his management company), with friends I can have at the track, the engineers, everything is going quite well.

'Right now I don't think I'm over-stressed or whatever, so I'd rather not change too much at the moment. I'm not going to see a mental coach again.

'Maybe in three months I will say I want to work with somebody. It's how you feel inside.'

Anonymous plot Canada Grand Prix disruption

Cyber hacker anarchists Anonymous warn Canada Grand Prix fans of fresh plot



12:22 GMT, 30 May 2012

Cyber-anarchist group Anonymous are threatening another attack on Formula One during the Canadian Grand Prix on June 10 in support of protesting Quebec students.

They have warned potential attendees to the event that they might be able to access their credit card information via the F1 servers.

The internet hacking organisation successfully managed to disrupt the official Formula One website throughout last month's Bahrain Grand Prix.

Trouble brewing: Mark Webber won the last race, but the next one could be disrupted

Trouble brewing: Mark Webber won the last race, but the next one could be disrupted

The attack, under the title of
'Operation Bahrain', was carried out on the basis of what they perceived
as 'the incredible human rights abuses of the Bahrain regime'.

On this occasion Anonymous are firmly behind the students across Quebec voicing their anger against their government's proposed hike in tuition fees, with protests now into their 107th day.

Notably, Anonymous are against perceived human rights injustices following an emergency law introduced on May 18 known as Bill 78 that 'restricts freedom of assembly, protest, or picketing on or near university grounds and anywhere in Quebec without prior police approval'.

Anonymous have already claimed responsibility for shutting down Quebec government and police websites since the introduction of Bill 78 that has allowed police to act, sending arrests soaring to over 2,500.

In their latest statement, Anonymous feel disrupting the Canadian Grand Prix weekend, one of the most popular events on the F1 calendar, will send out another firm message to Quebec premier Jean Charest.

The statement read: 'As we did in Bahrain, Anonymous intends to wreck Mr Ecclestone's little party.

Plan: Anonymous are planning a cyber attack

Plan: Anonymous are planning a cyber attack

'Beginning on June 7 and running through race day on June 10, Anonymous will take down all the F1 websites, dump the servers and databases and wreck anything else F1-related we can find on the internet.

'We would like to remind anyone considering attending this abominable race that last time Anonymous found all the spectators' personal data, including credit card numbers unencrypted on F1 servers.

'Anonymous will be among many protesters targeting the Grand Prix.

'A number of students are also set to protest, something that the F1's organisers will be wary of, considering the race could bring around 100million Canadian dollars (62million) to the area.

'We highly suggest you join the boycott of the F1 in Montreal and we certainly recommend you not purchase any tickets or F1 merchandise online.

'You have been warned.'

Lewis Hamilton rejects Mark Webber criticism over Nico Rosberg move in Bahrain

I wasn't in the wrong… Hamilton rejects Webber criticism over Rosberg move in Bahrain



21:30 GMT, 10 May 2012

Lewis Hamilton has dismissed claims from Red Bull rival Mark Webber that he should have been penalised for his off-the-track overtaking manoeuvre on Mercedes' Nico Rosberg in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Hamilton, who finished eighth in last month's race, passed Rosberg with all four wheels off the track as the German veered wildly across the tarmac to try and keep his position.

Not guilty: Hamilton has laughed off Webber's criticism

Not guilty: Hamilton has laughed off Webber's criticism

Webber expects the issue, for which neither driver was punished, to be raised in Friday's drivers' briefing.

He added: 'I was surprised Lewis was allowed to keep his position.'

Defending his driving style ahead of
this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, Hamilton responded: 'Mark is probably
one of the most – if not the most – outspoken individual here so that
is the least I expect from him. I'm a racer and I didn't feel I was in
the wrong.

Off the fence: Webber seen here with Sky F1 pundit Martin Brundle on Thursday

Off the fence: Webber seen here with Sky F1 pundit Martin Brundle on Thursday

'Everyone has a right to their own
opinions but it doesn't mean they are right and it doesn't have to
affect me in any way at all.

'They weren't there at that moment. You can't see from the camera angles whether I was alongside, but I know I was.'

McLaren axe pit crew

McLaren axe hapless pit crew: Whitmarsh rings changes after errors cost Hamilton and Button points



07:35 GMT, 10 May 2012

McLaren have confirmed changes have been made to the pit crew in light of recent mistakes.

Errors in the last two races in China and Bahrain, in particular by the man operating the left-rear wheel gun, have cost Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button points.

In Shanghai, Button was denied a shot at victory by a slow final change of tyres as the left wheel nut cross-threaded at the first time of asking.

That's the pits: McLaren have been forced to ring the changes

That's the pits: McLaren have been forced to ring the changes

A week later in Bahrain, Hamilton encountered two issues with his left-rear wheel, after the second of which team boss Martin Whitmarsh replaced the mechanic operating the gun for the last stop.

Whitmarsh was forced to console the man concerned after the race as he admitted he had taken the situation 'very badly'.

Following an internal review of their pit-stop procedures during the recent mini-break that included last week's test in Mugello, further alterations have been made ahead of this weekend's Spanish grand prix in Barcelona.

Whitmarsh said: 'We've looked at what we are doing and have made some changes to the team and the process and we'll see them on Sunday in Barcelona – or you may see them on the earlier days if you are interested enough to watch pit-stop practice.

'There's enormous pressure on the guys. At a team like McLaren you are targeting a sub three-second stop.

'It's a huge physical challenge. If you've held a wheel gun it's really heavy and it's not an easy task.

Pressure-cooker: The teams are under enormous pressure to nail the stop

Pressure-cooker: The teams are under enormous pressure to nail the stop

'It's being done on some very hot components with the eyes of hundreds of millions bearing down on your back.

'So I am always in awe of the level of the volunteers we have, but we have made some changes as you might expect following the last race.

'I wondered whether we'd have volunteers for some of the more critical elements, but I was astounded by how many guys in the team wanted to put themselves in that very challenging position.

'It reflects well on the spirit of the team. There's since been a reasonable amount of practice and we'll see at the weekend. I believe we'll have good stops.'

Phil Duncan F1 blog

The two errors in Bahrain resulted in Hamilton finishing eighth and losing his lead of the championship to Red Bull's reigning champion Sebastian Vettel, who holds a four-point advantage.

With four different winners of the four races to date, Hamilton is naturally itching to make it five in five, a feat achieved just three times in F1 history.

Last season's runner-up to Vettel said: 'Our performance at Barcelona during winter testing looked promising.

'But the form of the season is still very hard to read, so it's difficult to predict who'll be at the front this weekend.

'Nonetheless, we had a great race there last year. I pushed Sebastian all the way to the finish.

'I think we have a comparatively stronger car this year, so I hope we can have another strong race.'

Alex Brundle risks all at Le Mans in the company of his famous father, Martin

Alex Brundle risks all at Le Mans in the company of his famous father, Martin



21:05 GMT, 28 April 2012

Martin Brundle had only his son, Alex, and a young and little-known Spanish driver for company as he walked through the pits at a blustery and deserted Silverstone.

Days earlier, he had mixed with world champions Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel as he brought insight and wisdom to Sky’s coverage of the controversial and politically inflamed Bahrain Grand Prix.

But Brundle’s presence at Silverstone on Wednesday in flameproof racing overalls was a reminder that, even at 53, his competitive spirit still burns deep.

Martin Brundle and his son Alex prepare for Le Mans

Family danger: Alex and Martin Brundle will compete in the hardest and fastest endurance race in the world

In seven weeks’ time, he will share a 200mph Zytek- Nissan sports car with his son, and Spaniard Lucas Ordonez, in the hardest, fastest endurance race in the world, the Le Mans 24 Hours. Brundle’s wife, Liz, had been pregnant with Alex when he won Le Mans in a Jaguar 22 years ago.

She will be with her husband and son again when they return as teammates for the 80th running of a race that retains iconic status in the motorsport calendar.

So how does Alex Brundle feel his mother will deal with the two men in her life spending a day and night taking it in turns to drive at high speed round an 8.4-mile circuit

‘Mum says you can replace a husband, but you can’t replace a son,’ he said, with a smile.

‘It’s an interesting concept that I’m not sure she would like to explore. I honestly think the thing she struggles mostwith is not the danger.

Scottish driver Allan McNish in his Audi Nr 3 crashes after hitting a side protection during the 24-hour Le Mans endurance race at Le Mans track in Le Mans, France, 11 June 2011

Carnage: Allan McNish in his Audi Nr 3 crashes after hitting a side barrier during the 24-hour Le Mans race last year

It’s the days when it hasn’t gone well and she sees me disappointed that she struggles to understand why I carry on. But I am a racing driver — and the good days always make it worthwhile and she sees that.’


Twenty-one drivers have been killed at Le Mans since the first 24-hour race in 1923, the most recent in 1997.

Marshals and spectators have also died, including 83 in a 1955 disaster.

His voice, as well as his ambition, are an echo of his father. ‘It’s special for me to be racing with Dad at Le Mans,’ he said. ‘But this is not a “dad and lad jolly”; we are aiming to win our class, LMP2.’

The challenges of Le Mans differ greatly from those faced by Formula One’s stars.

Not only do the drivers have uncommonly long stints at the wheel and drive through the night, but the 56 cars on the grid, competing in separate classes, have a massive disparity in speed.

Last year Britain’s Allan McNish was fortunate to walk away from a horrific accident after his LMP1- class Audi clipped a slower car and barrel-rolled.

Twelve months earlier, former Formula One world champion Nigel Mansell was hospitalised when he crashed a car he was co-driving with sons Leo and Greg.

 F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone (R) is interviewed by Sky F1 commentator Martin Brundle before the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix

Back to the day job: Brundle interviews F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone before the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix

Brundle senior will endeavour to impart his vast experience to his son and Ordonez, who propelled himself into motorsport by winning a virtual racing series co-promoted by Nissan and PlayStation four years ago.

‘It’s the first time I will race at Le Mans when I won’t be the lead driver in one of the fastest cars in the race,’ said Brundle.

‘The key to Le Mans is navigating the traffic, or allowing the leaders through without contact or the loss of too much time. The LMP1 cars will be about 15-17sec a lap faster than us on a three-and-threequarter minute-lap, and we’re about 30 seconds faster than the GT cars.’

His motivation for a return to Le Mans is easy to understand: he wants to savour sharing a car with his son while he can. ‘If I make silly mistakes, I’ll take flak in the F1 paddock… and deservedly so,’ he said. ‘I could stay at home — that would be the easy option. But I want to get out there and race with Alex.’

His son, who graduated with a business management degree from Nottingham University last year, will also be competing in the GP3 series on the undercard at European grand prix races this summer, providing him an opportunity to showcase his ability.

Formula One racecar driver Martin Brundle, of the Benetton-Ford racing team, at the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo, Monaco

In his prime: Martin Brundle raced for Benetton-Ford in the early 1990s

Brundle senior, who for 10 years managed the career of David Coulthard, has watched the dreams of a succession of talented drivers wither once their bank accounts were emptied.

‘Drivers are paying as much as $10million to be a reserve at some teams,’ he said.

‘Nine men who raced in F1 last year don’t have a drive any more. As soon as the money runs out, they’re replaced by someone who does have money.

'You have kids in their fourth year in GP2 and that’s cost somebody 5m-6m. You can still get through on talent alone — but someone has to recognise that talent and be prepared to invest in you.’

At Silverstone last week, Brundle’s walk through the drizzle to his Le Mans car in the company of his son was a scene to be cherished.

‘Alex has a fantastic CV and this project, and a seat in GP3, is a chance for him to shine,’ he said.

Jenson Button dismisses Mugello testing

Testing is pointless! McLaren's Button dismisses Mugello session



17:19 GMT, 26 April 2012

Jenson Button does not believe being in Mugello next week will be a worthwhile exercise.

McLaren last week announced test drivers Gary Paffett and Oliver Turvey would be on duty for the team at Formula One's first in-season test since 2008.

However, following his disappointing eighth-placed finish in the Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday, Lewis Hamilton suggested he might alter his plans and head to Italy for the May 1-3 session.

Waste of time: Jenson Button has no plans to take part in testing

Waste of time: Jenson Button has no plans to take part in testing

Two bungled pit stops cost Hamilton dear, in particular his lead in the drivers' championship to reigning champion in Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.

Following the race Hamilton said: 'If there are things to test or figure out I will be the one to do it, not let someone else do it.'

As yet, McLaren have not altered their test plans, although there is the prospect of a last-minute change should Hamilton wish.

Game over: Button was forced to retire from the Bahrain Grand Prix

Game over: Button was forced to retire from the Bahrain Grand Prix

For his part, Button sees no point in taking part as he said: 'The reason why we're not there is because we've never been to Mugello before.

'I don't really think we will be a benefit because there aren't any massive updates to try.

'For the test drivers to put some miles on parts and try some very extreme things, then I think it's good, but it's not necessary for us to be there.'