Leeds sell stake to Bahrain's International Investment Bank

LONDON Thu Mar 28, 2013 11:54am GMT

Leeds United's Luke Varney (C) celebrates his goal against Tottenham Hotspur with team mate Paul Green (R) during their FA Cup fourth round match at Elland Road in Leeds, northern England, January 27, 2013. REUTERS/Darren Staples

Leeds United's Luke Varney (C) celebrates his goal against Tottenham Hotspur with team mate Paul Green (R) during their FA Cup fourth round match at Elland Road in Leeds, northern England, January 27, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Darren Staples

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LONDON (Reuters) - The owners of Leeds United have sold a 10 percent stake to Bahrain-based International Investment Bank, the English football club said in a statement on Thursday.

Dubai-based GFH Capital bought The Championship (second division) club in December after protracted negotiations lasting more than six months and despite concerns over their financial firepower.

Rumours the new owners were planning a swift exit first surfaced in media reports last month but they reiterated last week that they were only looking to sell part of their share in the club.

"The introduction of IIB is in keeping with what have always been GFH Capital's aims for the successful, sustainable and long term ownership of Leeds United FC," David Haigh, deputy chief executive of GFH Capital, said on the club website (www.leedsunited.com).

IIB's chief executive, Aabed Al-Zeera, will join the Leeds City Holdings Limited.

Leeds, who suffered financial problems and dropped down the leagues after reaching the 2001 Champions League semi-finals, are 10th in the Championship and retain only slim hopes of making the playoffs for a place in the lucrative Premier League.

(Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Mark Meadows)

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