Merry Christmas! Leeds takeover will be completed by festive season as Bates confirms sale
12:07 GMT, 21 November 2012
Leeds owner Ken Bates has announced Bahrain-based investment bank GFH Capital will complete a 100 per cent takeover of the club on December 21.
Bates, 80, who took control of the club just short of eight years ago, confirmed the first part of the takeover had been completed and he will stay on as chairman until the end of the season to help the new owners during a transitional period.
'We have now completed all the negotiations and investigations with GFH and we’ve now completed the first part of the purchase and that happened at 10.30pm last night,' Bates told Yorkshire Radio.
On his way: Ken Bates has confirmed he has sold Leeds United to Bahrain-based investment bank GFH Capital
'Put briefly, they’re taking over 100 per cent of the club, as I say the first part was completed at 10.30pm last night and it will be totally completed on December 21.
'Meanwhile there’s a transitional period in which they get to know more about the club.'
Bates also confirmed that he will be taking on a new role as club president at the end of the season, while one GFH representative, David Haigh, would be joining the club’s board immediately, with three more new directors in place before Christmas.
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David Haigh, Deputy CEO, GFH Capital Limited said: 'After a long process of negotiations, spanning Leeds, London, Monaco, Dubai and Bahrain, it gives us great pride today, to have completed the deal for Leeds United.
'A brief but important transitional period now begins in terms of the changeover of ownership: we have today injected further funds into the club and now we look to the future and start the exciting journey to take Leeds United FC back into a prime position in English football once again.
'From a Leeds family myself and a supporter of The Whites since childhood, I know that football is at the very heart of the people of Leeds and the wider community.
'We want to thank all the fans in UK and around the world for their patience and support while the negotiations have been taking place. Lets now march on together, taking the club back to the Premier League as soon as possible.'
Bates added: “Quite simply they (GFH)
will be providing additional working capital for the club and they are
also providing funds to strengthen the team.
'Infact there's already been a small injection this morning as far as working capital is concerned.
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'Nothing has changed, I will continue as chairman until the end of the season when I look forward to handing over to my successor and become president and sitting back perhaps, taking a bit more time off and enjoying what has been eight years of very hard work.
'That's what (my wife) Susannah and I chose when we came in, so that's what we've got on with.
'Neil Warnock will continue as manager, obviously with more support than the present owners have been able to give and we look forward to a smooth transition.
'I can say although the negotiations have taken a very long time, the benefit of that is that, unlike some overseas owners, who have gone in blind like a bull in a china shop and made a complete mess of the club after taking over, this six-month courtship if you like, for want of a better phrase, has given them (GFH) enough opportunities to see how Leeds United works.
'What the advantages and disdavantages are, the strengths and weaknesses, what needs to be done and what needs to be supported.
'So you can look for a more Manchester United-type transition than we've seen at Blackburn, Portsmouth and other less fortunate clubs.'