Italian owner given fourteen days to appeal Football League Board decision.
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Massimo Cellino has been disqualified from owning Leeds United Football Club under the Owners’ and Directors’ Test of the Football League.
The Board of Directors of The Football League released a statement saying they “considered detailed legal advice and agreed unanimously (with the exception of its Chief Executive, Shaun Harvey, who did not take part in the debate or vote having declared an interest) that Mr. Cellino is subject to a disqualifying condition under the terms of the Test.”
The Football League Board decision has come after they applied to Italian courts for the full details surrounding a case against Mr Cellino for not paying import duties on a boat under Italian tax regulations.
The Board of Directors had previously ruled in March this year that Cellino could be disqualified as owner of the Yorkshire club. However, the Italian, who formerly owned Cagliari in Serie A, had successfully appealed the charge at a Professional Conduct Committee hearing.
The chair of the committee, independent QC Tim Kerr, said: “Mr Cellino has satisfied me that on the facts before me, what he was convicted of was not conduct which would reasonably be considered to be dishonest.”
However, Mr Kerr qualified this statement by saying he could still be disqualified if the ruling of the court in Cagliari, where Cellino is being charged for the tax breaches, revealed his conduct was indeed dishonest.
That now appears to be the case with the release of documents in Italy and the Football League has demanded he resign as a Leeds United director. Massimo Cellino now has 14 days to appeal this decision
However according to Associated Press journalist Rob Harris, if Cellino could drag out an appeal until March 18th 2015 (when his Italian tax conviction would be deemed spent) he would be free to own the club again.
Cellino has to drag out appeal process until March 18 2015 when tax conviction will be deemed spent & he would be allowed to own Leeds again
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) December 1, 2014