Jailed Leeds United boss: Co-owners tried to block anti-homophobia campaigns

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Jailed Leeds United boss David Haigh has alleged that the club’s former co-owners tried to block him from running anti-homophobia campaigns.

Mr Haigh became the club’s managing director of the football team in July 2013, after it was acquired by Bahraini firm GFH Capital. He was jailed in Dubai in May 2014, after being accused of embezzling funds from GFH.

According to the Mail on Sunday, the 37-year-old claims that during his time at the club, GFH attempted to block anti-homophobia campaigns with Stonewall and out player Robbie Rogers.

He told friends that he went ahead with the campaigns despite warnings that it would cause “extreme offence to those in Bahrain and Dubai at GFH”.

Despite being jailed in Dubai for over 7 months, Mr Haigh is still yet to be charged with a crime – with friend and Conservative councillor Matthew Sephton claiming he was jailed “without charge or trial, probably because he’s gay”.

A spokesperson for Mr Haigh told the Mail: “David has never made any secret to his friends and associates of his sexuality.

“Naturally he has preferred to keep his personal life private, although he was always a determined campaigner on equality issues throughout his time at Leeds United.

“It is understandable that, after he has been held in jail for more than seven months without any charge against him, his friends are speaking out on an issue which they believe may have contributed to his incarceration.”

A GFH spokesperson said: “We don’t know if David is gay and hence how could we treat him differently? He has been given golden opportunities (by GFH), trusted to lead our Dubai office and was then given the great opportunity at Leeds.

“This is enough proof of how decent the company was with him, but unfortunately he betrayed the trust.”