The saga regarding the ownership of Championship club Leeds United appears to have come to an end after Italian Massimo Cellino won an appeal against the Football League’s decision to block his takeover of the club.
Unhappy at that decision, Cellino took the matter to the courts and he has been successful in overturning the decision. His company, Eleonora Sport Limited, has now completed the purchase of 75% of the club’s shares and he has taken his place on the board of directors.
The League vetoed the takeover initially after Cellino was found guilty by an Italian court for failing to pay import duty on a yacht with the board voting unanimously to block his takeover bid under a disqualifying condition in its owner’s and director’s test.
A Football League statement qualified this, “The relevant disqualifying condition being that Massimo Cellino has been convicted of an offence involving acts that would reasonably be considered to be dishonest.”
The Football League have their policy in place, but it appears that in spite of the fact they had valid reason to disqualify Cellino’s bid, their decision can be challenged and overturned in the courtroom.
With some clubs falling victim to financial issues and going into administration, it’s important for the longevity of football clubs that the right people are allowed to take charge of these clubs, which is why the league have this procedure in place.
Hopefully for the Yorkshire club, the Italian is the right man for the club who have struggled in recent years after falling from the Premier League.
He is no stranger to owning a football club. He currently owns Serie A side Cagliari although he is trying to sell the Sardinian club.
On the pitch, Leeds aren’t enjoying the best of spells. They are currently in the middle of a run which has seen them lose seven of their last eight fixtures with their last match being a 3-0 away defeat at Watford on Tuesday night leaving them in 16th position in the Championships league table, eight points above the relegation zone.
Though it seems unlikely they will fall back into League One, manager Brian McDermott has been under intense pressure this season as the team have struggled this season.
Cellino has already attempted to sack him once this season, despite not being in charge of the club at the time, and the Italian has fired an amazing 35 managers in 21 years! It suggests that McDermott might not be at Elland Road too much longer.