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SBD Global/April 9, 2014/Finance
Massimo Cellino Completes Takeover Of League Championship Club Leeds United
Published April 9, 2014
FINANCIAL FIGURES: The PA also reported Cellino's task of transforming the fortunes of Leeds "was brought into sharp focus" on Tuesday when the club revealed losses of £9.5M for the '12-13 financial year. The Football League's Financial Fair Play regulations allow a maximum loss of £8M ($13M) this season and a January transfer embargo "looms for clubs that fail to comply." The club's accounts for the previous financial year showed a profit of £317,000 with an operating loss of £3M (PA, 4/8). The BBC noted Leeds "saw turnover fall" by over £3M from the previous year, while attendances dropped by almost 8%. The club now owe over £30M ($50M) to creditors and Cellino "will now have to bring the debt down" if the club is to comply with FFP (BBC, 4/8).
QUESTIONS RAISED: In London, Andrew Bounds reported questions "were raised" over the Football League’s regulation of club owners after Leeds "changed hands for several months last year." Accounts filed with Companies House reveal that GFH Capital "sold half its stake between March and June to an unnamed party before buying it back" in December, reaching 85% ownership. This meant there was “no controlling party” of the Championship club for at least six months. The League, which regulates the sport, "is supposed to assess whether owners are fit to run clubs after a string of high profile cases of teams going into administration" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 4/8). SKY SPORTS reported Cellino "has apologised for comparing Cagliari to a Fiat but stated that he sees Leeds United as his chance 'to drive a bigger car.'" Some of his recent comments "have upset Cagliari, and club captain Daniele Conti criticised Cellino over the weekend for suggesting that 'being with certain sides it is like driving a Ferrari, while here it is like driving an economy car.'" Cellino "is sorry to have caused any offence as he remains committed to the club." He is "excited about the potential at Leeds." Cellino: "I was almost sold to the Arabs. In the meantime, I envisaged an opportunity to buy Leeds. And since I cannot retire to fishing, I have tried to see where I can go in my professionalism" (SKY SPORTS, 4/8).