Leeds' players defer part of month's wages

Leeds' players have agreed to defer a proportion of their wages for this month, Professional Footballers' Association chief executive Gordon Taylor has said.

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Lawyer: GFH may feel club is out of their hands

Leeds United players have agreed to defer part of their wages for March after the club failed to pay them on time.

The club's owners Gulf Finance House Capital and prospective owner Massimo Cellino are in dispute over who should fund the players' wage bill after the Italian's £25million takeover bid earlier in the week was blocked.

Cellino is appealing against that decision.

Sports lawyer, Richard Cramer, says GFH may feel the club is out of their hands:

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Failure to pay wages could push Cellino appeal forward

The appeal will be heard by an independent QC and was expected to take place within the next two weeks.

Press Association

But following the club's failure to pay the players' wages, it is understood that hearing could now take place next week.

"The players are being realistic about the situation," Taylor added.

"It's not ideal. It's obviously better for them to have some certainty, but they are holding together and will wait for the outcome of the appeal, which could be next week.

"We've been involved with meetings between the club and the players and all parties are satisfied with this way forward."

Current Leeds owner GFH Capital meanwhile, are understood to argue that when Cellino exchanged contracts with them to buy 75 per cent of the club's shares in February, he agreed to meet the running costs for the following six months.

"Ideally every club needs to have good, strong ownership and a long-term strategy for continued success, but that cannot be guaranteed in football," Taylor said.

"Leeds have reached the very top of the game and with their history are still considered to be one of our big clubs, with an excellent supporter-base.

"We hope a club with all this tradition has the strength to come through this.

"In an ideal world the situation there at the moment would not happen, but football is not as easy as that."

Leeds players not paid for March

Leeds players have agreed to defer part of their wages for March after the club failed to pay them on time.

Press Association

Non-playing staff at Elland Road have received their full salaries as expected, but following a meeting with the club's hierarchy and Professional Footballers' Association officials on Friday morning the players have accepted part payment.

Club owners Gulf Finance House Capital and prospective owner Massimo Cellino are in dispute over who should fund the players' wage bill after the Football League blocked the Italian's £25million takeover bid earlier in the week.

Cellino is appealing against that decision.

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said: "At the moment the plan is that prospective owner Massimo Cellino will contribute towards the wages for this month, with the players agreeing to wait for the rest until the outcome of the appeal."

No assurances over McDermott's future

Leeds manager Brian McDermott has not been given any assurances by club owner Gulf Finance House Capital that his players will be paid this month.

Brian McDermott
Brian McDermott Credit: Press Association

McDermott told a press conference on Thursday that he had not sought any either, but admitted after Tuesday night's 4-1 defeat at Bournemouth that "all the talk of who's going to be in (as owner), talk of who's going to be paid" had been distracting his players.

GFH Capital and prospective owner Massimo Cellino have been reported to be arguing over who will fund the wage bill for March after the Football League blocked the Italian's #25million takeover bid earlier in the week.

It was confirmed on Thursday that Cellino has formally appealed against Football League's decision to block him from buying a majority stake in Leeds.

The appeal will be heard by an independent QC and is expected to take place within the next two weeks.

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I'm not a dishonest man - Massimo Cellino

The owners of Leeds United insist they will try to work out a solution to Massimo Cellino's failed takeover of the club, but the Italian himself claimed on Monday night to be ready to "jump from the window".

Cellino's takeover was rejected by the Football League Credit: PA

Cellino was on Monday told by the Football League that last week's conviction in an Italian court for tax evasion meant he failed its owners' and directors' test, meaning his 75 per cent purchase of the club from Gulf Finance House Capital - in the offing for close to two months - was dead.

The 57-year-old agricultural entrepreneur can appeal the decision and there were mixed messages about that on Monday, but it appears that GFH Capital remains committed to working out a deal for Cellino's Eleonora Sport company to move in at Elland Road.

A statement from them read: "The club and its shareholders are disappointed at the decision of the Football League not to approve Massimo Cellino as a director of Leeds United FC.

"However, the board and executive management of the club will continue discussions with the Football League and Eleonora Sport to find a solution that is suitable to all parties."

Speaking to BBC Radio Leeds, Cellino said that he "has to appeal" but used another interview with the Guardian to express his sadness and shame at his conviction, brought about by the non-payment of tax on his yacht.

"I'm not a dishonest man. If they say I did this, I am stupid. Why would I do something like this? Because I am a fool - I am stupid," he said.

"There's different justice in Italy. I prefer the English way, but I am in Italy unfortunately.

"I am not a dishonest crook. If I made a mistake, it was not on purpose. I'm shocked. I feel like I will disappear. I am so ashamed of myself - you have no idea. It's not about the money at the moment. I didn't try and do anything bad to Leeds, to anyone - I just wanted to do something good.

"I'm so shocked that I feel like I will jump from the window right now. I feel so ashamed. Why did they take two months to wait for the decision of the Italian court? I could have delayed the trial for one or two years if I had wanted."

The Football League issued a statement earlier on Monday announcing Cellino's conviction last week for a tax offence in Italy constituted "a disqualifying condition under its owners' and directors' test".

Cellino, who owns Italian club Cagliari, has bankrolled Leeds for the last two months and fans fear the club could slide into administration if a new owner is not found soon and the agricultural entrepreneur wants his money back.

Leeds managing director David Haigh has insisted, however, that there is "no chance" of the club going into administration.

Leeds United say they are 'disappointed' with Football League's decision

Leeds United

Leeds United have issued a statement saying they are disappointed at the Football League not to approve Massimo Cellino as a director of the club. The statement on their website reads:

The Board and Executive Management of the club will continue discussion with the Football League and Eleanora Sport to find a solution that is suitable to all parties.

Our shareholders continue to support the club directly or through additional investments as has always been the case.

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