The Football League’s Board of Directors disqualified Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino from owning the team under the owners' and directors' test after an Italian court found him guilty earlier this year of tax evasion, the Football League announced Monday.
The Football League said that Cellino must resign as director of the Leeds football club “forthwith” and “must not otherwise act in a manner that would qualify him as a 'Relevant Person' until March 18, 2015.”
Cellino had agreed to take control of Leeds in February, acquiring 75 percent ownership of the club. The Football League’s decision came after it obtained documents from an Italian court following their verdict against Cellino.
The Board also said that it can ask an independent Football Disciplinary Commission to consider whether Cellino and/or Leeds United breached Football League regulations relating to the timely disclosure of relevant information. That commission will look into the matter at a later time.
“Mr. Cellino has satisfied me that on the facts before me, what he was convicted of was not conduct which would reasonably be considered to be dishonest,” Tim Kerr, the independent chairman of the League's Professional Conduct Committee said. “If the reasoned ruling of the court in Cagliari discloses that the conduct of Mr. Cellino was such that it would reasonably be considered to be dishonest, he would become subject to a Disqualifying Condition.”
Cellino can appeal the Board's decision to the Professional Conduct Committee within 14 days.
This season, Leeds has 23 points in 19 league games and is currently 15th in the Sky Bet Championship table, 12 points behind leader Derby County.
- Scooby Axson