Leeds United co-owner Massimo Cellino delays 12-month FA ban with appeal

Leeds United co-owner Massimo Cellino's ban was due to start next week
Leeds United co-owner Massimo Cellino's ban was due to start next week
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Massimo Cellino’s Football Association ban has been delayed again after the governing body agreed to stay the punishment while Leeds United’s co-owner mounts another appeal.

Cellino, whose 12-month suspension was due to start on Saturday, is challenging the decision to ban him through the FA’s arbitration scheme after failing with a previous attempt to overturn the ruling against him.

The 60-year-old was punished with an 18-month ban and a £250,000 fine in December after being found guilty of sanctioning an illegal payment during the sale of Ross McCormack from Leeds to Fulham in 2014.

An initial appeal last month saw his ban reduced to 12 months and his fine cut to £100,000 but the panel rejected an attempt by Cellino to reverse his guilty verdict.

The FA ordered Cellino to resign from United’s board and sever all ties with the club by February 18 but the governing body announced tonight that it had delayed the sanctions little over 24 hours before the suspension was due to start.

A statement read: “On February 3, 2017, Cellino’s 18-month suspension for breaching the FA’s football agent regulations was reduced to 12 months following a successful appeal. The Leeds United owner also had his £250,000 fine reduced to £100,000.

“The sanctions imposed by an FA appeal board against Cellino have now been stayed pending the outcome of a legal challenge brought by Cellino in arbitration pursuant to FA Rule K.

“Cellino alleges the decision of the FA appeal board was irrational, procedurally unfair, and that there was apparent bias. All other aspects of the arbitration shall remain confidential until such time as a decision has been made.”