Clare Burnett

Member Article

Football League rejects Cellino’s bid for 75% stake in Leeds United

In a statement from the Football League today, the organisation has rejected Massimo Cellino’s bid for a 75% stake in Leeds United.

The decision comes as Cellino was found guilty in Sardinia of tax evasion. This has left the club in a state of confusion for several weeks, which has also been hit by a series of losses on the pitch.

Cellino is reported to have already put £6 million into the club in the interim period, as the club runs on at least £1 million a week.

GFH who was to sell the stake, reported over $6 million in profits last month, but it is unclear whether they will remain the majority stakeholders or look to alternative options.

The statement read: “At its meeting yesterday evening, the Board of The Football League considered the eligibility of Massimo Cellino under its Owners’ and Directors’ Test.

“The Board considered detailed legal advice with regard to the application of its regulations within the context of a decision made under Italian law.

“Mr. Cellino was recently found guilty beyond reasonable doubt by a Court in Sardinia of an offence under Italian tax legislation relating to the non-payment of import duties on a boat. This resulted in a fine of €600,000, an order for the payment of trial costs and the confiscation of the boat in question.

“Having fully considered the matter, the Board agreed unanimously that the decision of the Italian Court does constitute a disqualifying condition under its Owners’ and Directors’ Test.

“The relevant disqualifying condition being that Massimo Cellino has been convicted of an offence involving acts that would reasonably be considered to be dishonest.

“In line with Football League regulations, Massimo Cellino is entitled to appeal against the Board’s decision within 14 days. In such circumstances, The League would seek to expedite the process to deliver certainty to all parties in the shortest possible timeframe.”

The club said in a statement: “The club and its shareholders are disappointed at the decision of the Football League not to approve Massimo Cellino as a director of Leeds United FC.

“However, the Board and Executive Management of the club, will continue discussions with the Football League and Eleonora Sport to find a solution that is suitable to all parties.

“Our shareholders continue to support the club directly or through additional investments as has always been the case.

“We would like to reassure the fans of the continuity of our great club.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Clare Burnett .

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