Leeds United today announced that after months and months of speculation, GFH Capital Limited have completed the acquisition of the football club.
Whilst Ken Bates will remain chairman until the end of the season, GFH Capital will be 100% shareholders and their executive David Haigh will join the board at Elland Road immediately. Haigh will be joined by fellow GFH executives Salem Patel and Hisham Alrayes in December. At the end of the season Ken Bates will leave his role as club Chairman and become club President.
In a statement on the official website, Bates said:
"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 with more support than the present owners have been able to give and we look forward to a smooth transition.
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 Suzannah 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."
David Haigh added:
"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."
Whilst Ken Bates remains at the club, he has lost his grip on Leeds United and his era is all but over. GFH are soon to be 100% shareholders, the deal is signed and there is no going back. Hopefully the start of their era sees the team improve on the pitch, over to them!