Shaikh Mirdad In Leeds Link

Last updated : 18 May 2007 By Kevin Markey
"Leeds United is a very prestigious football club that has unfortunately in the recent past suffered setbacks. My vision is to bring the club back to its former glory," Shaikh Mirdad told Khaleej Times.

"The club has a huge fan base and because of the history of the club and desire of the people of Leeds to see Leeds United back in top flight Premiership football, we think this may be the ideal challenge for us."

Legal experts at Allen & Overy, a leading international corporate law firm that also has offices in Dubai, said the process of acquisition would not take more than two months once the parties concerned had agreed on commercial terms including the price, the management to lead the club, and future development plans.

Pervez Akhtar, partner at Allen & Overy, is the lead counsel for the consortium that Shaikh Mirdad heads in negotiations with Leeds officials.

Shaikh Mirdad said he would be travelling to Leeds next week to meet with Ken Bates and other officials to begin formal talks on various issues such as the price and management matters.

"We're going to see it and, depending on the outcome of our negotiations, we will seriously consider the proposal," he added.

Should the deal be successful Shaikh Mirdad would be the first Gulf national to acquire a European football club through a business consortium.

He said that he may also be meeting with the Lord Mayor of Leeds, Councillor Mohammed Iqbal, to impress upon him and the people of Leeds that the consortium Shaikh Mirdad heads shares their value and aspirations.

"I am very passionate about football, and I want to help a lot of other people who share this passion," said Mirdad, who revealed that he is friends with a number of European football stars, officials, and football legends.

"My intentions should follow the blessing and vision that would be shared between me, Chairman Bates and the people in Leeds."

He said it is important that the people of Leeds and the fans of Leeds United would be happy about the planned acquisition, which could lead to having a bigger stadium and drawing up a comprehensive five-year expansion plan for the club.

"There's a lot of potential for the club," he stressed. Mirdad said Leeds administrators, Richard Fleming, Mark Firmin and Howard Smith, of KPMG Restructuring, would be meeting by the end of this month on administration matters including the process in which the acquisition would be done.
He added that the club resorted to voluntary receivership to assess their financial standing.