Leeds United: Football League postpone Cellino’s disqualification

Massimo Cellino.
Massimo Cellino.
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THE FOOTBALL LEAGUE has postponed Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino’s disqualification from being an owner or director at the club until his appeal against his ban is heard by a league arbitration panel - with no appeal date having yet been announced.

Cellino lodged an appeal against his latest league ban on October 28 amid doubts about when the governing body actually intended to formally disqualify him.

Cellino is contesting the League’s attempt to bar him from sitting as a director at Elland Road for the second time and submitted the necessary paperwork ahead of the deadline late last month.

The 59-year-old was given 14 days to challenge the ruling after being told on October 14 that he was in breach of the League’s Owners and Directors Test following his conviction for tax evasion earlier this year.

Cellino was fined 40,000 Euros by a Sardinian court in June after being found guilty of failing to pay VAT owed on a Range Rover he imported to Italy from the USA.

The Football League plans to disqualify Cellino until June of next year – the point at which the Italian’s conviction will be classed as spent under English law. Cellino was entitled to request a delay until an independent panel rules on his case and the Football League previously allowed him to remain in charge of Leeds while a previous ownership ban – imposed on him in December of last year – was subject to appeal.

A Football League statement read: “The Football League can confirm that the Leeds United President Massimo Cellino has had his disqualification under the Football League’s Owners and Directors Test stayed by the League Arbitration Panel appointed to hear his appeal - enabling Mr Cellino to continue in his present capacity at the club until the appeal has been concluded.

“This will not affect the length of any disqualification served by Mr Cellino in the event that the league’s decision is upheld, as he would then be required to serve a period equivalent to that which he would have served had he chosen not to appeal the matter.

“This would equate to 223 days, which is the length of time between his disqualification becoming effective (November 12, 2015) and his tax conviction becoming spent under English law (June 22, 2016).”