The Football League expects to reach a verdict on Massimo Cellino’s takeover of Leeds United in the next 10 days after discussing the Italian’s deal at a board meeting today.
Cellino’s bid for a majority stake in Leeds appears to rest on tax evasion charges being brought against him in Italy next week, with the Football League confirming that “the majority of outstanding issues have now been resolved.”
A statement from the governing body said it still required “further information on remaining issues” but said Eleonora Sport Limited - the company Cellino is using to buy Leeds - was likely to meet its demands within the next seven days.
The biggest threat to Cellino’s £25m buy-out of United owner Gulf Finance House would seem to be an Italian court case in which the 57-year-old is accused of avoiding payment of 400,000 Euros in import duty on a luxury yacht he bought in 2010.
Cellino denies the charges and his legal representatives will argue that the boat was owned by an American company and entitled to sit in EU waters tax-free.
Cellino, who is not planning to attend Tuesday’s hearing in Sardinia, would almost certainly fail the Football League’s Owners and Directors Test if he is found guilty.
A statement issued by the Football League read: “The majority of outstanding issues have now been resolved to the League’s satisfaction and the board anticipates receiving further information on the remaining issues, from the representatives of Eleonora, in the next week.
“The board recognises the pressing need to resolve the matter and to provide certainty to all parties. It therefore anticipates being able to reach a conclusion in the next 10 days.”
Cellino and GFH exchanged contracts on his purchase of a 75 per cent stake on February 7.
Completion of his deal would end GFH’s reign as club owner which began in December 2012 when the Bahraini investment bank bought out ex-Leeds chairman Ken Bates.