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It's official: Leeds United takeover confirmed

The new Bahrain-based owners said they won’t be spending “crazy money” in an attempt to get the club back in the Premier League.

A general view of Elland Road.
A general view of Elland Road.

DUBAI-BASED BANK GFH Capital have finally completed their takeover of Championship outfit Leeds United.

GFH – who are owned by a Bahrain-based, regulated bank – paid a reported fee of 52 million pounds for a 100 percent stake in Leeds, widely regarded as the biggest sleeping giant in English football.

The confirmation of the buyout ends Ken Bates’ disastrous reign in charge at Elland Road, in which United were relegated twice, entered administration twice, were docked a total of 25 points for financial reasons and consistently sold their best players without replacing them.

Leeds fans have regularly protested against Bates in recent years and although he will remain as joint-chairman – with GFH Capital’s David Haigh – until the end of the season, his day-to-day involvement is not likely to continue beyond the end of the current campaign.

Bates will fill the role of club president going forward but Haigh said his involvement would be minimal, while current Leeds director Shaun Harvey said the controversial former Chelsea chairman did not attend Friday’s press conference at Elland Road because they ‘wanted the focus on the future and GFH rather than anything else’.

Harvey was flanked by Haigh and his GFH colleague, Salem Patel, who are now directors at the club, at the announcement.

Patel was delighted to announce GFH’s acquisition of the Yorkshire club but said they would not be spending ‘crazy money’ to bolster the team’s squad in a bid to return to the English Premier League.

“Leeds United is a great football club with a great history, pedigree and a fantastic base from which we can build the club,” Patel said.

“We looked at a number of clubs but Leeds was the most attractive for those reasons. We hope to bring back the type of atmosphere we witnessed on Wednesday (in the Capital One Cup defeat to Chelsea) where, although the result wasn’t fantastic, the atmosphere and crowd – it was absolutely fantastic on the night.

“Obviously it’s going to take investment and we wouldn’t have bought a club like this if we weren’t prepared to make that investment.

“What we want to say is that we’re not going to be spending crazy money like some owners have. We want to make the investment sustainable and make the club successful. Simple as that.”

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