LONDON: Massimo Cellino has been disqualified from owning second division [Championship] club Leeds United after he failed the owners’ and directors’ test.
It was agreed unanimously by the Football League’s board of directors at a meeting last week that Cellino was “subject to a disqualifying condition under the terms of the Test” after they received the judge’s written report on the Italian’s conviction for tax evasion in his homeland.
Previously in April 2014 Cellino won an appeal after initially being issued with a disqualifying condition in March 2014.
Cellino has now been told he must step down from his position and has 14 days to appeal the decision. Should the sanction be upheld, it will apply until March 18, 2015.
A statement from The Football League said: “At its meeting last week, the board considered the reasoned judgment of the Italian court against Mr Cellino, having successfully applied to the Italian courts for its full disclosure.
“The board considered detailed legal advice and agreed unanimously… that Mr Cellino is subject to a disqualifying condition under the terms of the (Owners’ and Directors’) Test.
“As the judgment of the Italian court has not been published in Italy, the Football League will not make any of its contents public.”
Leeds United released their own statement and said: “We have today received a notice from the Football League disqualifying Mr Cellino from being a director of Leeds United Football Club until 18 March 2015.
“The club is in the process of taking legal advice on the reasoning of the decision. In the interim, the club notes that nothing has changed since the decision of the Football League’s Professional Conduct Committee in April 2014.
“The steps that the League wishes the club to take – to remove Mr Cellino only to re-appoint him in three months’ time – will be destabilising for the club, its supporters and sponsors and cannot be in the best interests of any party.”
As the judgment of the Italian Court has not been published in Italy, the Football League will not make any of its contents public.
The league will also ask an independent Football Disciplinary Commission (FDC) to consider whether Mr Cellino and/or Leeds United breached League regulations relating to the timely disclosure of relevant information.