Leeds United: Whites and Cellino charged by FA over McCormack sale

Former Leeds United striker Ross McCormack
Former Leeds United striker Ross McCormack
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Leeds United and owner Massimo Cellino have been charged by the Football Association over an alleged illegal payment made by the club during the transfer of Ross McCormack to Fulham.

Leeds and McCormack’s licensed agent, Derek Day, are accused of breaching the FA’s agent regulations during the Scotland international’s multi-million pound move from Elland Road in 2014.

Cellino is alleged to have contravened FA rules with his involvement in the deal.

The charges surround a payment of £185,000 which Leeds agreed to make to Day following the sale of McCormack two years ago.

Day is alleged to have taken that money on behalf of McCormack’s advisor, Barry Hughes, who is not licensed by the FA. That deal is seen by the governing body as a breach of its rules governing football agents.

McCormack was sold for a reported sum of almost £11m, one of the first transfers completed after Cellino’s takeover of Leeds in April 2014.

Massimo Cellino

Massimo Cellino

The FA has been investigating allegations of an illegal payment for many months and brought charges against the three parties this afternoon. They have all been given until this Friday to submit a response.

A statement from the governing body read: “Leeds United have been charged for breaching the FA’s football agent regulations.

“The alleged misconduct relates to the transaction involving the transfer of Ross McCormack from Leeds to Fulham on July 8, 2014.

“Leeds chairman Massimo Cellino and authorised agent Derek Day have also been charged for breaching FA Rules and the FA’s football agent regulations respectively, in relation to the same matter.

“All parties have until 20 May 2016 to reply to the charges.”

McCormack is not accused of any wrongdoing by the FA.

United have declined to comment but the charges from the FA come just days after the Football League was forced to back down from its attempt to impose a 223-day ownership ban on Cellino for a tax conviction in Italy.

That penalty is set to be withdrawn after Cellino’s offence was quashed by Italy’s Court of Appeal.

The FA has given no indication as to what punishment Leeds, Cellino or Day might face but sources familiar with charges of this nature have told the YEP that a fine is most likely for the club. The FA, however, has the power to impose suspensions on both Cellino and Day.

Arsenal were fined £60,000 for a breach of agents' rules after signing Calum Chambers from Southampton in 2014.

The FA, meanwhile, is still believed to be investigating possible breaches of its rules on third-party ownership by Leeds and Cellino relating to the loan signing of Brazilian midfielder Adryan from Flamengo two years ago,

Adryan was interviewed by FA officials at Thorp Arch shortly before his year-long loan expired at the end of the 2014-15 season.

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