The Football League has today disqualified Massimo Cellino from ownership of Leeds United Football Club following the outcome of a tax case in his native Italy.

In a statement issued Monday lunchtime, The Football League said;

The Board 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.

Cellino failed The Football League’s Owners & Directors’ Test before first taking over Leeds United but the decision was overturned by an independent appeals hearing clearing the way for the Italian to complete his takeover.

However, the appeals judge complicated matters by ruling that Cellino could still be disqualified if the written verdict of the Italian court case found that he’d acted dishonestly in failing to pay tax on a yacht.

While The Football League asks Cellino remove himself from his position at the club swiftly, Cellino is likely to stall for as long as possible. The Leeds United owner has two weeks to once again appeal to the Professional Conduct Committee and would almost certainly seek to pursue further legal challenges should a PPC appeal prove unsuccessful.

Such appeals would inch Cellino towards March of 2015 when the disqualifying condition The Football League have based this decision on will be considered spent under UK Law meaning it can no longer prevent him from ownership.

Unfortunately, Cellino has two similar tax cases hanging over his head which could yet add to the chaos.

Just when you thought we were turning a corner…

46 Responses

  1. pissed off

    Why don’t the football league just fuck off, for all his faults, its clear cellino has the clubs best interest at heart, clearing debt , investment in players, what more do they want, why this stance with us when Blackpool continue to be run into the ground by a convicted rapist, its always Leeds that get made an example of, minus 25 points, barring the first decent owner we’ve had in a long long time, wankers

    • Irving08

      Don’t worry, Cellino, in one way or another, will still be here this time next year, and – provided he slows down – for some years after. I suspect a certain Ken Bates will be too: he knows a thing or two about dealing with the League. Wonder if we will hear anything from the ‘keepers of the conscience’ (LUST) ?

      • Ev

        Irv………Harvey is Ken Bates Cronie…….Captain Birdseye will be deliriously happy today

      • Irving08

        Why would Bates be more palatable than Cellino to the FL ? Anyway he seems happy enough with his two boxes. I reckon he’ll be on Massimo’s side in this one – not that our sympatico owner needs his support. Tell me, am I being naive ?

  2. markman

    One assumes that the Football league have tried to cover all the legalities from their point of view.
    The lawyers must be rubbing their hands.

  3. NottsWhite

    Very big of Harvey not to be involved in the vote due to a conflict of interest. I bet that didn’t stop him pouring poison down the ears of the FL committee members. However, I bet they did not take much persuading as 3 of the board also represent Blackpool, Middlesborough and Millwall. Not much conflict of interest there then ?

  4. oldschoolbaby

    I was enjoying a warm glow after the Derby game which I didn`t think was urinary incontinence. More fool me for being distracted from the fact that it`s now the pantomime season, knowing that the FL would railroad everyone else out of the way in their desperation to land the role of arse end of the horse. Somewhat perversely, should this buffoonery be enforced, Mr Cellino has a nice yacht on which to kick his heels until March. Then, to the delight of solicitors, German car salesmen and top end gentleman`s outfitters we can look forward to a moronic and entirely pointless round 2 and 3.
    MOT regardless

  5. stelufc

    You watch, points deduction next. Only way blackpool have any chance of staying in the championship. meanwhile gfh suspected of fronting a pyramid scheme and backed by illegal Iranian money can carry on regardless


  6. RoystonLUFC

    let’s not get too disheartened by all this. Cellino is here to stay, even if he takes the next 3 months off. I’m inclined to just sit back and let these FL buffoons make complete and utter clowns of themselves. Let the whole world know what they’re up to and the whole world can cast its judgement on these idiots

  7. spellz

    I hope there is a way for Cellino to overturn this as he has been the only person who has seemed to actually care about the direction of our football club, he has put his money where his mouth is and has passion for our club, what other board member will you ever see risk watching a game with the fans, after all the bloodsuckers that have been here under Harvey, he now makes sure we lose our only asset we have had in a long time, Mr Cellino, the football league is a corrupt disgrace, bunch of FCUKING hypocrites…..the lot of them.

  8. Inchy

    Can Cellino not just challenge the whole fit and proper person test in the court? If he is able to act as a director in another UK company then surely the FL rule is illegal?

    • TSS

      To what end? That doesn’t harm The FL, it just costs a few clubs a tiny % of their annual income.

  9. greenbobley

    Harvey steps back from vote after supplying all the ammo. What a bunch of loooosers at the FL.
    The only thing missing from the FL is Sep Blatter.

  10. Irving08

    LUST has spoken ! -and a classic piece of fence-sitting it is too. Shame on them: my resignation is in the post.

    • Chareose

      Totally agree mate………… TSS tie your colours to the mast ……surprised that so many blogs purporting to represent Leeds fans are trying to be neutral ……… Isnt it enough with the London based media and the rest of football out on a witch hunt ?

      • Irving08

        Cheers Chareose – you and I both know the overwhelming majority of Leeds fans are on Cellino’s side in this. When we’re attacked we close ranks, end of. He is the first owner since Leslie Silver plainly to have the interests of the club at heart. He is not out to diddle us, nor does he appear to be motivated by anything other than love of the game in general, and obvious affection for the club, its fans and the city. At any rate these are the only characteristics that matter to us. ‘You can stick your Henry Winter’s ……..’, if you will excuse the recourse to terrace idiom.

      • Irving08

        Come on TSS, you know Chareose was referring to the FL v Cellino, not to LUST.

      • TSS

        I mean what do you think I’m being neutral on? Felt like I was being accused of something…

      • Irving08

        We’ll, where do you stand on this ? Shoulder to shoulder with Cellino or not ?

      • TSS

        While I’m not totally convinced by Cellino, I don’t agree with The FL witch hunt.

        I don’t know if you read Phil Hay’s piece the other day but it’s a point I’ve made previously and he brought home – if not Cellino, then who?

        The League are merely a membership association of clubs, they’re supposed to represent the best interests of their members yet I see no evidence of that in the enforcement of this ban. For this to be in the best interests of Leeds United, the League must present a viable alternative to Cellino and until such a time as they can, all they’re doing is destabilising a member club.

        Ownership rules are what they are, but these rules were supposedly established to protect clubs and are enforced at the discretion of the League. As such, they should only be enforced after considering whether it’s in the best interests of a member club. In this case, it most certainly is not. And worst of all, the League have never stopped to consider the implications. It’s a tantrum at this stage, they’re annoyed because Cellino won his appeal and are now seeking revenge. As for Leeds United… who the fuck knows. Certainly not the League.

        PS. As for sitting on the fence, I wrote several articles to the same end last time we went down this road.

  11. Mike

    LUST needs to keep their thoughts to themselves, they have such a self appointed sense of entitlement its baffling.

  12. Conceived-a-White

    What happens off the pitch MUST NOT affect what happens on it (easier said than done I appreciate). Brian McD couldn’t handle it. I reckon Redfearn will. It seems to have gone almost unnoticed that the Captain was dropped v Derby. Making the correct tough decisions is what the manager’s job is all about. Well done Neil for having the courage to do this. Well done Jason for taking it in the right way without chucking toys out of the pram. You’re a real pro. We’re so lucky Neil’s rising to the challenge. It’s like having a really experienced manager at the helm but he’s only been doing it for a few games! Neil – you’re a star.

  13. PMH

    Why all the shock and horror? Cellino was never “fit and proper”. We all knew that right? The wonder is that it took so long for the FL to nail him. Truth is that if the FL had its act together, Cellino would not ever had acquired the club.
    Of course, another ownership crisis is the last thing we need. Hopefully the lawyers can find some way of having Cellino yield ownership temporarily while he serves his sentence.

    • spellz

      After all he has done for the club so far, I guess you call yourself a Leeds fan………shame on you.

      I quote BBC sport here, “Cellino, who has just returned from Bahrain where he has been meeting with the club’s other owners GFH Capital, joked that he would only resign his position if it would guarantee that Leeds would gain promotion to the Premier League this season”


  14. Irving08

    For me the issue boils down to this: is Cellino an honest man? I think he is – he may have broken a legal rule, but that does not make him dishonest in my eyes. If I thought he was, I would not take his side, whatever the consequences for our club: these would be nothing compared to the consequences for the League as a whole were dishonest men or women to own its football clubs. To me then the issue of Cellino’s suitability for ownership of our club or any other in the League involves a judgement about his character – which is, in fact, how Cellino himself is asking to be judged.

    • PMH

      He cheated on his taxes deliberately. That is dishonest, and if it is you or me we end up in jail.

      • Grumpy

        Are you aware of the facts of the case PMH? As far as I’m aware, at the time the alleged offence Cellino was resident in the USA, the boat was bought by a Company in the USA and the boat was registered as a USA vessel. Does the Italian Government impose tax on every foreign owned boat which anchors in Italy? If not, why not.

        It is the argument of Cellino and his lawyers that no duty was payable and despite the Judge believing otherwise is it not essentially a matter of ‘opinion’ as to whether duty is, in fact, payable.

  15. Oldschoolbaby

    It`s a lot more than that 08.
    We invented football. It`s our national sport. The FL is integral to our cultural fabric. It is doubly important since the PL sold its soul on the altar of money. It has an extremely tough task on its hands and needs to be run by people of integrity and discretion.
    Why then is there a no hoper in the hot seat ? Someone with no real credentials who has snaked up the greasy pole clinging to the coat tails of distasteful, highly dubious wealthy men. Why is there a “shadow” representative of football`s most disreputable family sat on the board ? How can it be ethical to have competition from your own League adjudicating on your “discretions”?
    More pertinently how can it have been acceptable to have an exaggerated doorstep conman followed by chancers, with no interest in football, inebriated on dodgy money running the club. And that was after a clueless narcissist sailed us to never-never land on the club`s credit card.
    Cellino remains enigmatic but he has a genuine passion for football, he`s got his OWN wallet out and he`s definitely pointed a basket case football club in the right direction. How many of the 72 have someone like that at the helm ?
    Leave him be and leave us alone.

  16. Mike

    I have the honest feeling that the FL are engaging the wrong man and will end up getting exposed for what they are which is a joke. Cellino doesn’t strike me as the type that likes to lose(especially to idiots like them) even if it costs him money and time.

    • oldschoolbaby

      I think you`re right but why should he have to. Parasitic lawyers and agents and a lot of unworthy players are getting rich. Most clubs and most fans are fleeced to finance this. The tail is wagging the dog. The job of the FL is to nourish the dog not to invigorate its tail. They clearly don`t understand this which is why they need a clear out. It is actually a scandal that they are happy to squander their limited resources persecuting Cellino.
      There are enough MPs representing Leeds and Yorkshire. Not sure how it works but perhaps the Culture, media and Sport Select Committee should be investing the FL. The arrogant losers won`t like the spotlight on them.

  17. PMH

    That the FL is ridiculous is obvious, and I won’t defend them. But, if they were not ridiculous and had sensible rules they imposed fairly, then Cellino would have been toast a long time ago. The FL ineptitude has generally favoured Leeds so far. That cannot last forever.

      • PMH

        He would never have been allowed to buy the team in the first place because he already had a record of financial irregularities.

        My point is that there have been no secrets about Cellino. His record has been clear and obvious from the beginning. We all knew he was no saint. We had discussed this endlessly on this forum when his interest in ownership first came up.

      • Irving08

        I recall conflicting reports on Cellino’s past with different sides taken, nothing as cut and dried, as you suggest. But any wrong he may have done is small potatoes compared to the stuff some other football club owners have got away with. It seems to me that Cellino is just not your cup of tea, that’s all.

      • Irving08

        I know there’s more to it than my last somewhat flippant remark might suggest. I am happy to debate the wider issues, but will leave that for another time. If TSS was a reading group, I’d suggest David Marquand’s, ‘Mammons Kingdom’ as our festive text. ‘Keep them Out Leeds’ !

      • PMH

        Check back to the first discussions here about Cellino and you will find me warning about the consequences of his persistent financial irregularities. You will also find me predicting rapid hiring and firing of managers. Others had a bad case of wishful thinking. My feelings about Cellino? I am grateful he has invested his money to rescue my favourite team. Of course, I would have preferred someone with even more money and much better judgement.

  18. Al

    Well Cellino may have made 2 poor coaching appointments but one must admire his resilience when it may be easier to say stuff it. Overall there’s more good than bad, the squad looks decent & more investment means a brighter future.

    Just when things look like turning the corner there’s another spanner in the works. Cellino must overcome we can’t go through another blank period of uncertainty.

    We’re at a crucial part of progressing now & things need to keep going in a positive direction or else we lose another generation of players & fans.

  19. Nick Ryle

    So, an owner who puts money, effort and passion into sorting out a club is banned from owning it for a minor tax misdemeanour that would not disqualfiy him from running any other business in the UK. And the people who have sat in judgement on him include Karl Oyston [ responsible for rinsing Blackpool of everything] and Shaun Harvey [Bates’ crony through the nightmare years]…. this is beyond irony. There are a number of petitions online that are worth signing. This cannot be allowed.


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