Cellino banned from owning Leeds over tax evasion
LONDON (AP) — English soccer club Leeds was in disarray again on Monday after owner Massimo Cellino was disqualified from owning the second-tier team over a tax conviction.
Cellino must resign as a director of the club within 28 days, said the Football League, which runs the three divisions below the Premier League.
After initially being blocked from taking over the 1992 English champions because of the conviction in Italy, Cellino was successful with an appeal in April. Now, after obtaining the Italian court’s judgment, the Football League board has decided again that Cellino breaches the terms of its test covering the suitability of owners and directors.
“The league’s view is that the conduct on which Mr. Cellino’s conviction for tax evasion was based would reasonably be considered to be dishonest,” the league statement said.
Cellino has 14 days to lodge an appeal, but the league said his ban would not be frozen during such a process.
Cellino’s disqualification, however, only lasts until March 18, 2015, when the former Cagliari president’s conviction will be served.
Leeds, which hasn’t been in the Premier League since 2004, reached the 2001 Champions League semifinals before falling into financial turmoil.