Haigh: Drug use behind cameras

Andover Advertiser: David Haigh, pictured, left Leeds last month after Gulf Finance House Capital completed its sale to Massimo Cellino David Haigh, pictured, left Leeds last month after Gulf Finance House Capital completed its sale to Massimo Cellino

Former Leeds managing director David Haigh today gave a "full statement" to police relating to the installation of surveillance equipment at Elland Road, claiming it was put there in response to reports of Class A drug use in the boardroom.

Haigh left Leeds on April 11 after the club was taken over by Italian Massimo Cellino, on the same day police confirmed they were investigating the surveillance equipment which was discovered by Cellino.

The presence of the cameras themselves in the boardroom and toilets was not enough to prompt a criminal probe, but allegations they were purchased as a result of a misappropriation of club funds were.

Haigh was today interviewed by West Yorkshire Police and a spokesman for the 36-year-old later released a statement explaining his position, claiming the cameras were as a result of illegal activity.

It read: "David has today given a full statement to police officers investigating complaints made to West Yorkshire Police by the new majority shareholders of Leeds United FC that surveillance devices were found at various locations, including the boardroom, at Elland Road.

"As the former Managing Director of the club, David was fully aware of the installation of these devices which were quite properly paid for by the club. They were put in place following reports which he received between the end of January and early March this year alleging the recent misuse of Class A drugs in and around the boardroom. One of these reports was made by police.

"It was, and remains, David's view that not to have taken action to seek to provide evidence against the alleged perpetrators would have been in breach of his duty as a fit and proper person to be handling the day to day running of a Football League club.

"David is of the firm belief that illegal drugs have no place in football, whether it be on the pitch or in the boardroom. He will continue to co-operate fully with any police or other enquiries."

Haigh resigned from his position citing comments made by Cellino as a key reason.

Cellino was heavily critical of Haigh in a conversation with a supporter which he did not know was being recorded, while also telling The Sun that he intended to sack him. Haigh had been set to become Leeds' chief executive under Cellino.

Cellino completed a 75 per cent buy-out of Leeds from Gulf Finance House Capital in April after a long period of turbulence.

Haigh, who previously worked for GFHC, saw his own takeover bid for the club collapse in January and then ushered in the bid of Cellino.

Agricultural entrepreneur Cellino saw his initial takeover blocked by the Football League owing to a tax conviction in Italy relating to a yacht, but had it overturned at an independent appeal.

Despite leaving Elland Road almost a month ago, Haigh remains a key figure with regards to the club's future. The company which he was looking to buy Leeds with, Sport Capital, made two loans to the club in November 2013.

One loan of £825,000 is understood to have been repaid but the non-payment of one of £950,000 has seen a winding-up order issued by Sport Capital, which is due to be heard in court on June 9.

No-one from Leeds was able to comment about the allegations this afternoon.

West Yorkshire Police later confirmed Haigh had spoken to them.

A brief statement read: "A 36-year-old man voluntarily attended at a West Yorkshire police station today and has been interviewed as part of an investigation into an allegation of theft relating to Leeds United Football Club following a report made by the club on April 9."

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