Leeds United and Cellino will have to wait for McCormack verdict

Ross McCormack
Ross McCormack
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Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino is awaiting the result of an FA charge against him after the commission in the Ross McCormack ‘bung’ case reached a verdict.

The Yorkshire Evening Post understands that the independent panel which heard the allegations against Cellino has concluded its deliberations but is delaying an announcement pending the completion of the written reasons behind its decision.

Cellino was charged with a breach of Football Association rules over an alleged illegal payment made to an unlicensed advisor of McCormack’s after the striker’s £10.75m transfer from Leeds to Fulham in July 2014.

Leeds and Cellino were accused of sanctioning a fee of £185,000 to McCormack’s licensed agent, Derek Day, in the knowledge that Day would pass the money to Glasgow businessman Barry Hughes.

Hughes was unlicensed and FA rules forbid payments to unregistered third-parties during transfer deals.

The FA charged Leeds and Day with breaking agent regulations and both parties are believed to have pleaded guilty. Cellino, however, denied a separate breach of FA rules and fought his case at a two-day hearing at Wembley on September 15 and 16.

The commission appointed by the FA has spent more than a month considering the evidence against United’s Italian owner but has yet to inform either Leeds or the governing body of its verdict.

The case is seen as complex and sources close to it said the commission was delaying publications of a decision or any punishment levelled at Cellino, Leeds or Day until it was able to issue a full explanation. McCormack is not accused of any wrongdoing.

The FA has not commented on what penalties Leeds or Cellino might face but Arsenal received a fine of £60,000 last year for breaching agent regulations during their signing of defender Calum Chambers from Southampton.

That matter also involved an unlicensed representative.

The McCormack case took a bizarre twist last week when one of the witnesses, Graham Bean, was reported to be considering withdrawing his evidence against Cellino owing to a dispute over expenses owed to him by the FA.

Bean, the FA’s former compliance officer who worked for Cellino at Leeds in 2014 before being sacked by the Italian, supported the governing body’s submissions during the hearing at Wembley in September.

He and the FA are wrangling over money which Bean says is due as a result of his involvement in proceedings but he has since claimed the dispute is a “separate private issue” and that his evidence still stands.

Neither Leeds nor the FA have made any comment since charges were first brought in May.

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Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy at Elland Road on Saturday. Picture by Simon Hulme

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