Massimo Cellino’s camp confident of Football League approval TSS March 23, 2014 Leeds United 21 Comments Massimo 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.