Leeds United: Cellino lodges appeal - UPDATED

Massimo Cellino.
Massimo Cellino.
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Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has appealed against his latest Football League ban and asked the governing body to delay his disqualification until after the appeal is heard.

Cellino submitted the paperwork ahead of today’s deadline and the League is considering a request from the Italian to remain in charge at Elland Road while his ban is under review.

United’s majority shareholder will be barred from running Leeds until June of next year unless he succeeds in overturning the League’s decision to disqualify him for the second time in 18 months as owner.

Cellino was informed of his ban on October 14 and given 14 days to appeal after the League’s board ruled that a conviction for tax evasion imposed on him by a court in Sardinia in June breached its Owners and Directors Test.

The 59-year-old was previously disqualified for three-and-a-half months last season having been found guilty of a separate tax offence.

In a short statement issued this evening, the Football League announced that Cellino was appealing his disqualification. It did not give a timescale for a decision.

The statement read: “The Football League can confirm that the legal representatives of Leeds United president Massimo Cellino have lodged an appeal against his recent disqualification under the League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test.

“The appeal will be heard in due course by an independent League Arbitration Panel.”

The Football League subsequently confirmed that Cellino had asked for the ban to be delayed while he fought his case.

A spokesman told the YEP: “We can confirm Mr Cellino has applied for the ban to be stayed until end of appeal process.”

The rules on club owners and directors give banned individuals an automatic 28-day period of grace before requiring them to resign. Cellino is not obliged to step down from United’s board until November 11 at the earliest.

The League allowed Cellino to remain at the helm at Elland Road for almost two months last season while an appeal against his previous disqualification was ongoing.

The former Cagliari owner was eventually forced to quit the Leeds’ board at the end of January, leaving ex-chairman Andrew Umbers in charge of day-to-day management of United.

Cellino is yet to comment on who would run the Championship club in his absence. Umbers resigned as a director earlier this month.

The latest ban imposed on Cellino came on the same day that United’s owner sacked former head coach Uwe Rosler and replaced him with Steve Evans.

Evans, who takes charge of his first home game against Blackburn Rovers tomorrow, spoke at length with Cellino last night but said the Italian’s impending disqualification was not discussed.

Evans joked: “I had dinner with him and the only thing I know, which is normal, is that I ate more than him. That’s consistent!

“We spoke generally about players and the squad. I can only say as I find. He’s very supportive and genuine. Yes is yes. No is no. I get a straight answer.”