Cellino Takeover Blocked

24 Mar 2014 02:26pm, by YorkshireSquare

I don’t really know why it has taken the Football League nearly a week to tell us that Massimo Cellino has been disqualified from buying a majority stake in the club. It was fairly inevitable after last week’s guilty decision in the tax evasion court hearing in Sardinian. But today they have told us exactly that, that they have decided unanimously to disqualify Cellino from purchasing the club. A statement from The Football League read;

"The board considered detailed legal advice with regard to the application of its regulations within the context of a decision made under Italian law. 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."

So what next for Leeds United? The first step is a possible appeal by the Cellino team, according to The Football League he has 14 days to lodge his appeal. The League stated that they would “seek to expedite the process to deliver certainty to all parties in the shortest possible timeframe”. If an appeal was to be lodged it would do nothing to resolve the current uncertainty hanging over the club, possibly extending it for weeks. Given though that Cellino was found guilty in Italy and the League have taken “detailed legal advice” I see no chance of this decision being overturned.

Many Leeds United fans have nailed their colours to the Cellino mast in recent weeks but to me this is just a sign of how desperate we have become. Having only just rid ourselves of Bates jumping into bed with Cellino would be very much out of the fire and into the frying pan. We have had out heads turned by his wealth and charisma but a future with Cellino would have been a roller-coaster ride and right now we need stability. I’m fed up with our club being dragged through the courts, first by Bates and now with Cellino. We need the spotlight to be with performances on the pitch not on events off it.

This season was always going to be about rebuilding for the future. Early promise and a sniff of the play-offs heightened our expectations and now we have become frustrated. But how can we expect a manager to build a team with the uncertainty in the background? We need stability off the pitch to rebuild on it and recent events and the handling of them have done nothing to help. For me the best option now has to be for Cellino to hold up his hands and walk away and for us to find new, stable owners.

But who are those potential new, stable owners? GFH have done their best to alienate any potential bidders over the past few months. Is there anyone viable left? We are lead to believe that Mike Farnan’s Together Leeds bid is still on the table and that they have new international backing to enable them to take the club forward. Only time will tell if they can come forward with a viable bid and just as importantly if GFH are willing to talk to them.

The pressure is on to come to a solution either way though. With the club rumoured to be losing £1 million per month the financial situation is precarious with GFH reluctant to put any more money into the club. There is now the added issue of Cellino having lent the club £6 million. We don’t know on what terms but he will certainly want paying back and any new owners will have to pay him off also. GFH will not want administration as it would mean them losing their investment but it does seem a daunting possibility right now.

The next few weeks are vital for the clubs future, it will be a worrying time, but if potential new owners step up and GFH are willing to sit down and talk to them then we could secure a positive, stable future for our club. It seems bad now, but with today’s decision we could have dodged a potential bullet.