David Haigh: It’s frustrating we can’t say more on Leeds United deal
David Haigh, Deputy CEO of Dubai-based GFH Capital, has expressed frustration at his inability shed more light on the ongoing negotiations to acquire Leeds United Football Club – and counter recent newspaper stories that have cast doubt on the company’s financial means.
A number of articles in the British and Emirati press had raised questions about the funding of the deal, and about the fortunes of Bahraini Islamic investment bank Gulf Finance House, GFH Capital’s parent company. Speculation has suggested that any purchase of Leeds, currently 9th in the Championship, could load debt on the club in the manner the Glazers’ leveraged purchase of Manchester United.
“It’s frustrating that we can’t be open about the deal due to the confidentiality agreement that’s in place,” Haigh told Sport360 during a face-to-face meeting this morning. “And you can see I’m frustrated!
“There have been a lot of stories about funding and debt and so on that we’d love to answer, but we’re just not in a position to do so. Needless to say, very little of what has been reported is accurate.”
Speaking in GFH Capital’s offices in the Dubai International Financial Centre, Haigh underlined that the company, which began a decade ago as Injazat Capital, had its own projects, investments and funds, one of which is the first Islamic finance-compliant technology fund, and has managed investment for such international names as GE International and IFC (World Bank).
David Haigh has become the public face of the takeover ever since he and colleague Salem Patel were photographed at Elland Road sitting alongside current owner, Ken Bates, during the game against Wolverhampton Wanderers in August.
Although raised in Cornwall, 34-year-old Haigh is a Leeds fan whose family hail from the Beeston area of the city. He stressed that he is as keen as anyone to conclude the deal and end the ongoing speculation.
“We know that the fans want answers, and we are massively grateful for all the positive messages of support we have received since our involvement came to light,” he said.
“All I can say at this stage is that we’re all working extremely hard to make this deal happen.”