Cagliari vs. JuventusMassimo Cellino’s legal team remain confident of Football League approval despite being found guilty of tax avoidance in an Italian court last week.

Simon Austin, a journalist who has remained in close-contact with Cellino throughout the takeover process providing several interviews to The Sun, revealed today that The Football League have sought the advice of an expert in Italian law after Cellino’s team insisted the outcome of his court case cannot be taken into consideration.

Here in England, a guilty verdict can be appealed, but you remain guilty until such a time as a higher court overturns the original verdict. In Italy however, their constitution states that a defendant remains innocent until an appeal has been heard (if he chooses to appeal), so while the judge in Cellino’s tax avoidance case returned a verdict of guilty, resulting in the seizure of his boat and a hefty fine, he’s still technically innocent in the eyes of Italian law.

If that’s made you scratch your head, imagine how life must be for the lawyers at Football League’s HQ.

What The Football League now have to decide is how the “conviction” translates to UK law. If Massimo Cellino is considered innocent here too, then it’s hard to imagine they’d use it as grounds to reject his takeover.

In light of the court case in Italy, The Football League issued a statement on the 13th March saying they expected to reach a decision on Massimo Cellino’s takeover within the next ten days.

It’s unclear as to whether they meant working days (Monday-Friday) or calendar days, in which case, their self-imposed deadline would be today. While it’s somewhat unusual for The Football League to convene a board meeting on a Sunday (they seem to be held on Thursdays usually), Simon Austin also said he’d heard they plan to meet this afternoon so there’s a chance we’ll get the decision today.

There’s also the possibility of further delays as The Football League and it’s lawyers try to get their heads around this unusual situation.

  • john palmer

    nice to here update, fingers crossed .

  • Matthew

    I see him as a necessary evil to get to the Premier League. Even if people don’t like or agree with his past, if he can provide the funds to build a promotion capable side, then welcome aboard.

  • Wayne Wellwood

    This is why I called the story about Cellino and his yacht irrelevant when it comes to the takeover the other week. He’s still innocent until the final appeal judgement by Italian law not to mention the league could be breaking human rights laws if they do take this charge into consideration… I’m sick of all this, Just pass him and let the club move forward or grow some balls and turn him down, I doubt it’ll be the latter for said ball less reasons (They are terrified of ending up in court, Hence all the delays).

  • mark

    say if the Italian court had last week found him “innocent”, wouldn’t the prosecution sought to appeal as well? in that sense he still would not have been technically ‘innocent’ either. Would the FL have waited for the prosecution appeal before coming to a decision? unlikely. They would have had to pass him and hope he is not found guilty on appeal. The FL have got themselves in a pickle by delaying for so long for this trial. Clearly they have not fully understood italian law

  • ant

    Nice to at least hear some news coming through, I hope he get it as it seems that he is the only option if we want to progress.

  • Tyler75

    He’s obviously got ‘baggage’ – but show me an Italian businessman who hasn’t.

  • Ev

    You know I don’t think BM wants to be at Leeds anymore but he cant leave until hes sacked otherwise he loses out on 1.6 million…….. I think the players know the managers going too and so that’s adding to the bad atmosphere

    • Tyler75

      It would certainly explain why he’s suddenly got on the Cellino bandwagon. If Cellino does takeover can you see him entrusting Brian with his millions ?

    • Matthew

      Personally I would say the man has clearly been under pressure because of our horrendous run of form and not being able to do anything really to change our fortunes(Or some would say not having the ability).

  • Ron

    The only thing ‘Fit and Proper’ in football is Sara Carbonero. Just about every one of these owners has blood on his hands, so this whole saga is a joke. Football administrators should all be taking on FIFA for awarding a desert country the 2022 World Cup, not worrying about who takes over Leeds United. Can he be more sinister than Bates?

    • TSS

      FIFA should be torn apart for the corruption, it’s beyond a joke at this stage.

      I’m not against Qatar hosting the World Cup though (if they’d won it fairly at least), I mean, it is the WORLD Cup after all, every country in the world should have the right to host it.

      • Matthew

        All that aside, one major reason why it shouldn’t be in Qatar is simply because it’s too damn hot there. How can anyone play in 40-50oC heat? The only months that would be viable would cause chaos with a lot of the top teams fixtures.

        • TSS

          Air-conned stadiums, but this is a genuine issue the World Cup needs to overcome if every country is to have a fair chance of hosting it. Why shouldn’t it be held in Winter when the climate is better for these countries? Just because the EPL and La Liga throw a tantrum? It’s none of their business.

          Honestly, if this was a major footballing force wanting to move the event so they could host it, there wouldn’t be half as much controversy. Every World Cup inconveniences some league or another, they don’t all play August-May like we do, is it really fair that we expect every other league and country to conform to our schedule because we’re one of the bigger leagues? There has to be some flexibility.

  • Helen LUFC

    Cellino will get the nod at leeds, but I can’t understand why an Italian living in Miami with a conviction for fraud would be so interested in LUFC that he’s prepared to put 6 million pounds into a club that loses 1 million a month? We all hope he’ll put cash into player recruitment. Maybe he thinks he can buy promotion and get us up? Sounds like the pot loads Wilko was given.

  • David

    Just let’s hope it good news today. Leeds United is the laughing stock of the foot ball league. B M Should be sacked and bring back David O’leary to leeds. He has got unfinished business at Leeds

    • Dave

      absolute tosh. O’Leary was the ruin of Leeds and tried to buy his way out of a situation. Stick with BM and he’ll steer us to the Premier if he is given the right backing and funds.

      • Paul Andrews

        Billy Davies looks to be available!

      • David Priestley

        Sorry to say Dave I dont agree with you. He only spent what he was given, He did not know the state of what the club was in. Only one bad buy in Seth Johnson and yes Riddesdale was a compleat w..ker but O’Leary was excellent with the youngsters.(Thats what we need now)He only made 2 mistakes at Leeds that was NOT sacking Bower & woodgate for the trouble they brought to the club.We would have got at lest £15 millon for them. And the writing of that book. ////Bring back O’Leary to Leeds MOT////. JUST HEARD ON THE NEWS CELLINO IS NOT FIT FOR THE CLUB.

  • Allan

    It beggars belief the hypocracy, arrogance and contemp shown by the football governing bodies. FIFA is as corrupt and bent as the grey suited brigade running the European finances. The Football League does not give a damn about any club that is not in its bloody premiere league. Add this to the fact that its well established in football folklaw that the FA hate Leeds United. If you listen to all the football pundits, the scum tabloids, the biggest crisis in the country is not the economy, its not the bloody GDP, abs, ÀA or bloody RAC its poor old Man United who are suffering a dip in form, and Oh no the dreadful thought that they may not qualify for Europe. Listen, were on our own. Don’t expect any favours cos they are not coming. Messimo will NOT be allowed to take Leeds. HOW ON EARTH DO YOU THINK THE FA WOULD TRY TO JUSTIFY THAT. Carry on taking the pills.

  • Badvock

    FA reject the bid! victory for common sense, must protect the league from those with no heart for football, too many money men in this game.

  • David Priestley

    Sorry to say Dave I dont agree with you. He only spent what he was given, He did not know the state of what the club was in. Only one bad buy in Seth Johnson and yes Riddesdale was a compleat w..ker but O’Leary was excellent with the youngsters.(Thats what we need now)He only made 2 mistakes at Leeds that was NOT sacking Bower & woodgate for the trouble they brought to the club.We would have got at lest £15 millon for them. And the writing of that book. ////Bring back O’Leary to Leeds MOT////. JUST HEARD ON THE NEWS CELLINO IS NOT FIT FOR THE CLUB

  • PMH

    Well that’s that then. I know that we all wanted an owner with deep pockets to pay for some real football talent, but Cellino was most definitely NOT going to be a beneficial influence on Leeds United. Never mind the moral question, the record on this man is of very poor judgement. He doesn’t know how to handle money, and he doesn’t know how to handle people, and he doesn’t have any expert knowledge of football. All he had was a lot of cash, and that, sadly, is not enough. LUFC need to keep looking for their white knight.