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Football: Lack of cash sees Leeds takeover collapse

January 31, 2014

James Riach

The takeover of Leeds United by the consortium Sport Capital has collapsed owing to a lack of "financial backing", leaving the club's future uncertain amid speculation that two separate groups remain interested in the Championship side. The Leeds managing director and head of the Sport Capital consortium, David Haigh , released a statement yesterday conceding that it was unable to complete a deal despite two months ago agreeing to purchase a 75% stake in the club from the owners Gulf Finance House , the Bahrain -based investment bank. Haigh claimed he and Sport Capital had "injected substantial sums into the club to ensure its viability" but earlier in the week fellow consortium member Andrew Flowers , the managing director of Leeds' shirt sponsor Enterprise Insurance , stated that GFH had "breached their covenant with us" after inviting a rival bid from Massimo Cellino , the president of the Serie A club Cagliari. Cellino has been strongly linked with a takeover although another consortium are also reportedly interested in securing a majority shareholding in the club, who are on a dreadful run and without a victory since mid-December. Haigh's statement, released on his personal website and claiming he had been the victim of smear campaigns, read: "We [ Sport Capital ] signed a share acquisition agreement with GFH Capital at the end of last year. This meant, I believed, that we were in a position to move things forward and complete the transaction in time for the January transfer window. "Unfortunately, however, some of the consortium's backers ultimately didn't feel able to deliver the financial backing we had hoped was agreed to take the club forward. "I have met many, many potential investors over the past year and, sadly, while many are keen to talk the talk, they have been unable or unwilling to deliver in financial terms." Haigh, part of the GFH Capital group that bought the club from Ken Bates in 2012, has seen Leeds sign the wingers Jimmy Kebe (Crystal Palace) and Cameron Stewart (Hull City) on loan this month, although they pulled out of a move for Brighton's Ashley Barnes , with the striker signing for Burnley instead. GFH Capital issued a statement after Haigh, saying: " GFH Capital can confirm that we are in continual discussions regarding the introduction of new investment into Leeds United." Captions: David Haigh said his Sport Capital consortium was unable to complete its purchase of a 75% stake in the club

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Source: Guardian (UK)

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