Owner of Ipswich Town’s next opponents, Leeds United, ordered to resign by Football League
- Credit: PA
Ipswich Town’s next opponents, Leeds United, have been thrown into disarray after the Football League announced Massimo Cellino has failed its Owners and Directors’ Test.
The Whites, who visit Portman Road on Saturday, have endured a tough season and are mid-table in the Championship.
The League’s board agreed unanimously at a meeting last week that Cellino is “subject to a disqualifying condition under the terms of the Test” after finally receiving the Italian judge’s report on Cellino’s conviction for failing to pay tax on his yacht.
The League has said that Cellino must resign from his position immediately, and has 14 days to lodge any appeal.
Should the decision to disqualify Cellino be upheld, the sanction applies until March 18 of next year when under UK law the conviction is deemed to be spent.
A Leeds statement read: “The club is in the process of taking legal advice on the reasoning of the decision. In the interim, the club notes that nothing has changed since the decision of the Football League’s Professional Conduct Committee in April 2014.
“The steps that the League wishes the club to take – to remove Mr Cellino only to re-appoint him in three months’ time – will be destabilising for the club, its supporters and sponsors and cannot be in the best interests of any party.”
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Cellino successfully appealed against the League’s initial decision to block his takeover of Leeds in April, but after receiving the detailed evidence from the Italian court that convicted him of tax evasion, the governing body has ruled that he is not fit to continue as Leeds president.
The League has also asked an independent disciplinary commission to consider whether Cellino and/or Leeds breached League regulations by not disclosing relevant information in a timely manner.
The Football League said: “The board considered the reasoned judgment of the Italian court against Mr Cellino, having successfully applied to the Italian courts for its full disclosure.
“The board considered detailed legal advice and agreed unanimously....that Mr Cellino is subject to a disqualifying condition.
“As the judgment of the Italian court has not been published in Italy, the Football League will not make any of its contents public.”