LEEDS: Massimo Cellino is willing to resign from the Leeds United board while he appeals against the Football League’s decision to disqualify him as an owner.

The 58-year-old Italian would have to stand down before 28 December.

A club spokesman said: “Massimo says he will not endanger the club in the middle of this issue and is prepared to resign whilst he appeals.”

The League ruled he breached its fit and proper person’s ownership test after being found guilty of tax evasion in Italy.

Cellino has since said he fears the second division [Championship] club could he damaged during the hiatus while he appears.

“He doesn’t want the club to be harmed because, along with the fans, it’s the most important thing,” the spokesman added.

By resigning from the Leeds United board, Cellino would distance himself from direct day-to-day involvement in the club.

However, as his family-owned company Eleonora Sport are the Elland Road club’s majority stakeholders, he would be seen to retain a controlling interest.

Cellino could circumvent any possible action against Leeds by giving up his role with Eleonora Sport, following the example of Birmingham City owner Carson Yeung, who retains a controlling shareholding in their parent company despite resigning from his position on boards related to the West Midlands club.

Cellino is currently listed as both president and a director of Leeds. His two sons, Eduardo and Ercole, are also on United’s board.

He is entitled to return to the club and resume control from March 18 because his conviction will be deemed to be spent.

“I’m fighting this and we think we will win so after the appeal I will be back. But I don’t want to give the League a reason to punish the club. So if I have to go then I’ll go,” he told the Yorkshire Post.

He was fined £502,000 (600,000 euros) in March this year after being found guilty of failing to pay import duty on his yacht.