Tottenham Hotspur pair Harry Kane and Dele Alli have confirmed a video posted on social media that shows four Premier League players saying “Time to go Massimo” is a hoax.
A section of Leeds fans are campaigning to force owner Massimo Cellino to sell the club and the video, posted by the account @WhiteLeedsSite, features Kane and Alli, plus Arsenal duo Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere.
Alli responded angrily on his official Twitter site when quizzed about the video by saying: “It was a hoax. Disgusting the lengths people will go to get a video they can change the context of.”
And Kane offered a similar response on his Twitter account, saying: “It was a hoax. Disgraceful the lengths people go to get a video they can change the context of like this.”
Reports in the national press today claimed the players were duped into thinking they were sending a message to a terminally-ill child called Massimo.
It is thought they were told the words would have special meaning for the youngster and his family.
The fans’ group Time To Go Massimo has campaigned against the Italian’s ownership, holding protests outside Elland Road and in Leeds city centre.
Funded by unhappy supporters, it has carried out a number of protests including the staging of a mock funeral and the projection of several anti-Cellino messages onto the side of Elland Road stands.
Cellino’s two-year reign in charge of Leeds has been littered with controversy and managerial sackings. The former Cagliari owner is currently on his sixth head coach while also appealing against a second Football League disqualification for tax evasion.
The Time To Go Massimo group said it had nothing to do with the video and were not connected to those who created it.
A TTGM statement read: “While we obviously like and are amused by the content of the video, after we discovered it was acquired by dishonest means, we cannot condone the actions of ‘WhiteLeedsSite’ however admirable the intentions.
“White Leeds Site may be a supporter of Time To Go Massimo but they are no way connected, or a part of our group nor was anyone from TTGM involved in its creation.”
The fan behind @WhiteLeedsSite is believed to be the same supporter who famously released audio of phone calls he made to Cellino and former Leeds chairman Ken Bates in 2014.
Neither Cellino nor Bates knew the conversations were being recorded but their comments were broadcast in full on White Leeds Radio, an Internet station.
At the time Cellino considered taking legal action before relenting, saying: “Maybe it wasn’t so wrong. That was me.”