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Cellino Leeds takeover bid scuppered by Football League

Massimo Cellino’s proposed 75 per cent takeover of Championship club Leeds United is in tatters, after his bid was turned down by the Football League.

“At its meeting, the Board of The Football League considered the eligibility of Massimo Cellino under its Owners’ and Directors’ Test,” a statement read.

“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. This resulted in a fine of €600,000, an order for the payment of trial costs and the confiscation of the boat in question.

“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.”

Despite the takeover failure and the news that striker Conor Wickham has been recalled by parent club Sunderland after playing just five games, Coral have shortened the Whites’ promotion odds from 150/1 to 125/1.

Leeds are in miserable form of late as well, with the 2-1 victory over Millwall being their first in seven games. They now find themselves 12 points off the play-off places – with a game in hand – and are priced at just 40-1 to finish in the top six with just 10 games to go.

Although the decision to block Cellino’s bid is clearly the right thing to do, some Leeds fans will perhaps be disappointed to be missing out on his millions of pounds (Euros). He has already reportedly put in over £6m into the club.

The deal is not dead, however. “In line with Football League regulations, Massimo Cellino is entitled to appeal against the Board’s decision within 14 days,” the statement went on to say.

“In such circumstances, The League would seek to expedite the process to deliver certainty to all parties in the shortest possible timeframe.”