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SBD Global/March 25, 2014/Franchises
Football League Unanimously Votes To Block Massimo Cellino's Takeover Of Leeds United
Published March 25, 2014
TAKING A HARD LINE: The London TELEGRAPH reported the Football League said in a statement, "Mr. Cellino was recently found guilty beyond reasonable doubt by a Court in Sardinia of an offence under Italian tax legislation relating to the non-payment of import duties on a boat. ... Having fully considered the matter, the board agreed unanimously that the decision of the Italian court does constitute a disqualifying condition under its owners' and directors' test. The relevant disqualifying condition being that Massimo Cellino has been convicted of an offence involving acts that would reasonably be considered to be dishonest." Cellino is "entitled to lodge an appeal against the decision within 14 days" (TELEGRAPH, 3/24). REUTERS' Keith Weir reported English football authorities have "been under pressure to take a tougher line on scrutinising club owners" after League Championship side Birmingham City Owner Carson Yeung "was jailed in Hong Kong this month for money laundering" (REUTERS, 3/24).
CLOSING THIS CHAPTER: In London, James Riach wrote "there is at least a semblance of closure in a saga that has played out dramatically" since Cellino's interest first became apparent. Yet the club's plight "has arguably never been more fraught with danger." If Leeds descend into deeper financial trouble and administration becomes a possibility, "investors would most likely wait and then swoop in to buy the club for a vastly reduced sum" (GUARDIAN, 3/24).