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SBD Global/February 7, 2014/Franchises

Serie A Cagliari Owner Massimo Cellino Expects To Be Approved As New Leeds United Owner

Serie A Cagliari Owner Massimo Cellino said that he expects to have "no problem" in being approved as the new owner of League Championship Leeds United and that his "purchase of the football club should complete next week," according to Andrew Bounds of the FINANCIAL TIMES. Cellino, who "swooped on the club after a bid from local businessmen collapsed last week," is paying about £25M ($41M) for a 75% stake from owners GFH Capital. Cellino said that "he was confident he would be approved as a suitable owner by the Football League, despite a past conviction for false accounting." Cellino blamed the "jealousy" in Italian football for the '01 false accounting case. He was "also convicted of fraud" in '96 but cleared on appeal. He said that he was "selling his Serie A club Cagliari because he was 'tired and fed up' of Italian football and he did not have the energy to run two clubs." Cellino said that Leeds would be "owned by an English company," of which he would "hold 9.5 per cent, with his family in overall control" (FT, 2/6). In London, Matt Lawton reported "in a series of text messages to Italian paper Corriere dello Sport, Cellino informed them that a sale of Cagliari was imminent." Cellino: "For 22 years I dreamed the impossible. I am a poor romantic dreamer, excuse me if I didn't succeed. I have practically sold Cagliari and the buyers' lawyers are securing the go-ahead from the authorities. They are good people but I'm worried they will baulk at our sad reality. Good night." The "sale has gone through" (DAILY MAIL, 2/6).
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