The Football League has officially cleared Massimo Cellino to become the new owner of Leeds United, after a meeting in London today.
– Football League
In making its original decision, the Board took the view that Mr Cellino's recent conviction in Sardinia was an act that 'would reasonably be considered to be dishonest' and that he was therefore subject to a disqualifying condition.
In the current absence of detailed reasons for the conviction from the Sardinian Court and having taken into account the principles of Italian law, an independent QC reached a different conclusion. On this basis, Massimo Cellino is cleared to be a director of Leeds United.
Massimo Cellino spoke to reporters outside Elland Road today as he arrived for his first day in charge of the Championship club.
He spoke about last night's performance at Watford, manager Brian McDermott and his plans to take the club forward.
Watch the full chat here:
Gianfranco Zola is not in line to replace Brian McDermott as Leeds manager should he lose his job, the former Chelsea player's agent claims.
McDermott's position at Elland Road has come under particular scrutiny this week since the takeover of the club by Massimo Cellino - the Italian who tried and failed to sack him on a crazy day back in January.
Cellino instructed McDermott via a third party that he had lost his job on January 31 as he prepared to exchange contracts for a 75% purchase with Leeds' now former owners Gulf Finance House Capital, only for McDermott to get his position back a day later when it emerged his sacking was not valid.
Fifty-seven-year-old Cellino has since been cleared to be Leeds' new owner after appealing the Football League's initial decision to turn him down after he was convicted of a tax offence. He awaits a final ratification from the League which he hopes will come on Thursday.
That has led to renewed speculation about McDermott's future, especially as Leeds have lost eight of their last nine matches.
There have been reports that Zola - who was convinced by Cellino to end his illustrious playing career with the agricultural entrepreneur's other club Cagliari - is in line to replace McDermott should he be removed either now or in the summer.
But his agent, Fulvio Marrucco, is adamant that Cellino will not be installing Zola, who resigned as Watford boss in December.
"The one thing I can tell you today is that Zola will not be Leeds' coach for next season."
Massimo Cellino says he believes the club can improve on this season's league performance under his ownership next year.
The Italian completed his takeover yesterday and said that the club has been unlucky to fall away from the play-off positions after a good start to the season.
He would not comment on manager Brian McDermott's future though, saying only that he was a "nice guy".
Massimo Cellino arrived at Elland Road today in his first full day as Leeds United owner.
Speaking outside the stadium the Italian said his first tasks were to pay players' wages, overdue from last month, and the club's tax:
Massimo Cellino has officially completed his takeover of Leeds, the Italian businessman's lawyers have confirmed. Cellino's company Eleonora Sport Limited has completed its purchase of 75 per cent of the club's shares and the 57-year-old has taken his place on the board of directors.
"Massimo Cellino has now been appointed a director of LUFC Holdings & ESL has completed its purchase of 75 per cent of the shares of LUFC Holdings," Cellino's legal representatives Mishcon de Reya tweeted.
In the hands of the Gods? Does Does Cellino hint on the future of boss Brian McDermott during an interview with Calendar?
I'll admit I hated the thought if Cellino at first, but the more I hear, the better it gets. New era, and when all in it together! #lufc
Congratulations Massimo Cellino on your takeover of #lufc. Look forward to working with you in the future. MOT.