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Friday, November 9, 2012
Leeds fans call for takeover clarity

ESPN staff

Leeds fans have urged the club to clarify the situation surrounding a potential takeover after reports suggested that chairman Ken Bates could remain at Elland Road as a partner of Gulf Finance House Capital (GFHC).

GFHC had originally said that its takeover would be total, with Bates leaving the club once the new owners were in place.

But conflicting reports over the last week - a week in which Bates suggested that a deal was close after around six months of talks - have led the Leeds United Supporters trust to call for clarification.

There is also uncertainty about the timing of any deal, with some reports saying it could be completed within days and others suggesting a phased agreement that would mean Bates staying involved until at least the end of the season.

A statement from the trust said: "We have put these scenarios to our own contacts on both sides of the deal, and we have been told that, while the timeframe of this weekend seems unlikely, there is a chance that Mr Bates will stay on as a partner with Gulf Finance House Capital.

"This would represent a complete turnaround from when we were told by GFHC's representative on October 8 - that 'they intend this deal to be a full takeover of Leeds United. Ken Bates will leave the club and David Haigh will take control'.

The statement said recent reports raised "a number of questions about GFHC's intentions and true capabilities", asking why the nature of the proposed deal should have changed.

The statement said: "How effective is a partnership likely to be, after six months of apparently difficult negotiations to reach this stage? Are GFHC no longer able to finance a full takeover of the club, and if not, what financial support will they be able to provide to [manager] Neil Warnock in January?"

The trust pointed out that, in his programme notes for the recent home game against Blackburn, Bates had said he was determined that "my legacy will be that the club is in safe hands" and could be taken "to the next level".

Its statement added: "We would ask Mr Bates whether GFHC, having negotiated for six months for a takeover yet now seemingly only able to partially complete a deal, represent the best available chance of securing that legacy."

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