FA thumbs-up seals Leeds takeover deal on December 21

Elland Road.
Elland Road.
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GFH Capital remains on course to complete its buy-out of Leeds United on December 21 after the Football League approved the appointment of three of its staff to the board at Elland Road.

The Dubai-based firm has taken a crucial step towards a 100 per cent takeover by securing permission for Hisham Alrayes and Salem Patel to join David Haigh as directors of Leeds.

Haigh, GFH Capital’s deputy chief executive, was added to United’s board when the company finalised the initial stage of its purchase on November 20, and Alrayes and Patel will become directors later this month after passing the Football League’s Owners and Directors Test.

The governing body is continuing to analyse the fine details of GFH Capital’s takeover, but full approval is expected to arrive in time for it to meet the agreed handover date with existing owner and chairman Ken Bates.

United, whose recent run of good form ended in a 3-1 loss at Derby County on Saturday, are due to pass into GFH Capital’s control two days after the club play Chelsea in the last eight of the League Cup on December 19.

The firm has already acquired a 33.33 per cent stake in Leeds City Holdings Limited, United’s parent company, but completion of its buy-out is still subject to Football League formalities.

GFH Capital’s staff are required to meet with Football League officials before the takeover proceeds but the private equity firm anticipates no complications and the remaining work been described to the YEP as an “admin process”.

A statement from United read: “The club are pleased to announce that GFH Capital executives Hisham Alrayes and Salem Patel, who will become directors of Leeds United upon completion of the takeover, have received approval from the Football League to join the club’s board having satisfied the requirements of the Owners and Directors Test.

“David Haigh, who joined the board last month, was also approved by the Football League before taking up his role as a director.”

Haigh will fly into England from the Middle East in time for Saturday’s game against Ipswich Town and further talks with manager Neil Warnock are expected with the January transfer window looming.

A sound defeat at Pride Park ended United’s streak of three straight league wins and dropped the club down to 14th in the Championship.

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