David was the Managing Director of leading English football club Leeds United, and Chairman of Leeds United Ladies Football Club. David was the first openly gay Managing Director of a major football club and hopes to help lead the way for footballers and football club staff to feel comfortable “coming out” on the world stage.
During his time at Leeds United, David introduced initiatives such as ‘Taking it to the Kids’ where primary school children in Leeds were given the chance to study football and health education courtesy of the club’s charitable trust, the Leeds United Foundation. He put the club at the forefront of the Anti-Homophobia and Anti – Discrimination in Sport and Football Campaign by partnering with Stonewall Diversity Champions and Robbie Rogers’ ‘Beyond It’. He brought the Leeds United Ladies football team back into the club and saw the ladies playing at Elland Road. Since leaving Leeds United David continued to support Leeds United Ladies as a sponsor. In 2018 he arranged for the Leeds United Ladies football team to travel to Cornwall to play local football team Mousehole AFC, continuing his longstanding support for Leeds United and women’s football.
In addition to his financial and legal expertise, David brought a wealth of business experience to the club. In his role as Managing Director he led a campaign for the club to re-engage with its fans, and his excellent relations with supporters and different supporter groups was a feature of his tenure. David’s time at the helm ensured the club broke many sporting records including achieving the highest league table position ever outside the premier league, the largest attendance record outside the premier league and the largest value player signing out side the premier league. David led a consortium to acquire in the club in 2013 and through his company Sport Capital continued to be a financier until 2017.
He has maintained his links with Leeds United Ladies and in 2017 and 2018 made it possible for the ladies to travel to Cornwall to play local Cornish teams
David is now on the board of his local team, Penzance AFC, who recognised that his love for grass roots football could help make the football club a bigger part of the community. He hopes to continue to make deep and long-lasting changes at grass roots level.
He was appointed to the Cornish FA Inclusivity advisory group in 2017 and advises the FA on matters of equality and specifically gender, sexual orientation and gender reassignment.
GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL AND ANTI-DISCRIMINATION IN SPORT
Since leaving Leeds United of which he was a financier until 2017, David joined the board of his local team Penzance AFC, who recognised that his love for grass roots football could help make the football club a bigger part of the community.
During David’s leadership Leeds United became the first Stonewall Diversity Champion in English football, championing gay equality within the club and Football. At the same time former Leeds United and LA Galaxy player Robbie Rogers launched his Beyond It anti-discrimination charity at Leeds United.
In November 2017, in an interview with The Mirror newspaper, he revealed that at least 20 footballers had confided in him about being gay. David was open about being gay while in his role at Leeds United and said to The Mirror that many gay players confided in him at the time as a result. In November 2017, Pink News credited Haigh along with Robbie Rogersand Thomas Hitzlsperger with paving the way for LGBT players and managers in football.
In late 2017 Haigh teamed up with Diva and OutNewsGlobal publisher Linda Riley to form the ground-breaking #ComeOut2Play. A campaign to help create an environment where gay and bisexual male players feel able to be themselves. www.comeout2play.org
The campaign became the largest Thunderclap campaign ever with over 53 million supporters in 6 weeks. The campaign received the public backing of the English Football league, its CEO Shaun Harvey and its 72 clubs, as well as supporters from across the world of football, media and politics. High profile supporters included, Jeremy Corbyn MP leader of the labour party, Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, Entertainer Katie Price and Broadcaster Piers Morgan.
Haigh was appointed to the Football Association Inclusivity Advisory Group in 2017 to advise on LGBT matters and diversity in Cornish football.