Massimo Cellino’s appeal against disqualification dismissed
Italian will have to step down as director of Leeds United and cut ties with club until April
Massimo Cellino’s appeal against his disqualification from Leeds ownership has been dismissed. (Photograph: Tony Marshall/PA Wire)
Massimo Cellino’s appeal against his disqualification has been dismissed, the Football League has announced.
The league said on its website that: “A professional conduct committee chaired by Tim Kerr QC has rejected an appeal by Leeds United president Massimo Cellino against the recent decision by the board of the Football League that he is subject to a disqualifying condition under its owners’ and directors’ test.”
Cellino will now have to step down as a director, cut ties with Leeds and undertake not to have any significant influence over the club until April 10th when his conviction becomes spent under UK law.
The Italian businessman was barred by the Football League from being the owner and a director of Leeds in December after it ruled his conviction for tax evasion was a dishonest act.
He had been fined €600,000 (£465,000) by a court in Sardinia in March 2014 after being found guilty of failing to pay import duty on his yacht, the Nelie.
The league said on Monday it had concluded that “Mr Cellino’s offence did indeed involve acts that would reasonably be considered to be dishonest”.
It added: “As are result of this decision, Massimo Cellino is disqualified from acting as a ‘relevant person’, as defined by Football League regulations until 10 April 2015.
“The Football League will provide any assistance requested by Leeds United to help it minimise, as far as possible, the effect this decision has on the club while Mr Cellino serves his period of disqualification.
“In addition, a further misconduct charge against Mr Cellino and the club for failing to supply the Italian Court judgment to the Football League when it first became available will be heard by a Football disciplinary commission in line with league regulations in due course.”