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leeds united latest: reports say cellino confirms cagliari sale by text

leeds united latest: reports say cellino confirms cagliari sale by text

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Reports in Italy say that Massimo Cellino has sold Serie A club Cagliari, with confirmation coming from Cellino via text message.

UPDATE MIDNIGHT: The overnight news from Phil Hay at the YEP sheds some light on the financial situation at Leeds United, where disagreements over payments have caused work to stop on provision of a 3G all-weather pitch that is crucial to attaining category two status for the Thorp Arch academy.

Some of the club’s suppliers say they have not been paid since October, and have been told they won’t be paid until the takeover is completed. One told the YEP: "If I ran my business the way Leeds United run theirs I wouldn’t be able to get suppliers to even talk to me let alone provide products or services. But then football’s a funny business."

Leeds United are currently facing a winding up petition filed by Andrew Flowers, who appeared to drop out of the race to buy the club with an angry statement on Wednesday night that described the deal with Cellino as, "a ‘fire sale’ transaction which is not in the interests of Leeds United, its players, staff or loyal supporters." 

At The Square Ball’s blog, Amitai Winehouse adds that a £140k payment due to Crewe as part of the Luke Murphy transfer was paid by Cellino

UPDATE 8.25pm: In an interview with the Financial Times (behind a paywall), Cellino has outlined some of his plans for Leeds United; he expects a £25m deal for 75% of the club to complete next week. He says his first act will be to buy back Elland Road, and has pledged that Leeds will be promoted in his first season in charge.

"On Thursday I am going to the bank and I will buy our stadium," he said. "I have the funds to buy Leeds and to run Leeds.

"A club like Leeds has big potential. I want to see Leeds United versus Manchester United like it used to be. I want to make the fans happy. I know what it means to be a fan."

Cellino also said that passing the Football League’s Owners and Directors’ Test shouldn’t be a problem, and dismissed his conviction for false accounting in 2001 on "jealousy" in Italian football. The article continues:

He said he was selling his Serie A club Cagliari because he was “tired and fed up” of Italian football and he did not have the energy to run two clubs.

“It is not going to be a problem,” he said of the League test because standards in Italy were high. “I have owned a club for 22 years. I have a lot of experience.”

Cellino will own 9.5% of Eleonora Sports, with the rest in his family’s control, and plans to move to Yorkshire, install himself as president, ‘…and have a hands-on approach to player recruitment. He would invest in the academy and scour the world to buy players.’

It was noted tonight that the domain name www.gfh-capital.com has either been deactivated or not renewed (although it can for now be accessed through mobile browsers); the company name also appears to have been removed from the list of parent company Gulf Finance House’s subsidiaries, with Leeds United now listed as part of ‘GFH Private Equity.’ 

UPDATE 4.15pm: Adam Pope of BBC Leeds has spoken to Mike Farnan this afternoon, following the statement from Farnan’s Together Leeds consortium last night; Farnan is asking the Football League to get involved and make sure his group’s bid is heard by the club’s owners.

#lufc I have just spoken to a very frustrated Mike Farnan of the TogetherLeeds consortium looking to buy a majority stake in the club.(1/2)

— Adam Pope (@APOPEY) February 6, 2014

#lufc Farnan says GFHC still not engaging with TogetherLeeds who have written to @football_league saying they can show proof of funds.

— Adam Pope (@APOPEY) February 6, 2014

#lufc TogetherLeeds say they have proof of funds & can’t understand why GFH Capital won’t meet. Farnan is asking @football_league to mediate

— Adam Pope (@APOPEY) February 6, 2014

UPDATE 2pm: Brian McDermott gave his pre-Yeovil press conference at Thorp Arch as usual this lunchtime, saying, "I want to do whatever it takes to be Leeds manager. All I ask for is mutual respect between owner and manager. All I want is a strategy. I want to be able to speak to people, to get decisions. I want things to be done.” He says he’s willing to give Cellino a chance if he takes over, but that Cellino needs to give McDermott a chance too, adding: “I just hope football breaks out here.”

The texted confirmation of Cagliari’s sale continues a theme for Cellino, who says a text message from Leeds chairman Salah Nooruddin on Friday told him, "Congratulation. You are now the new owner of Leeds."

Corriere dello Sport report (via Google Translate, to be honest) that: 

The text message arrived from Miami to 5.52 hours Italian. "22 years dreaming the impossible. I am a poor romantic dreamer, excuse me if I did not succeed. I pretty much sold Cagliari, now when the lawyers of the buyers will have assurances from the mayor [of Cagliari, ed] that will compete in the games where they sign and pay tomorrow. They’re good people, but I’m afraid that "sbrunchino" [Who trample the muzzle, dialect, ed] with our sad reality. Night ."

(The parts in square brackets are clarifications from Corriere’s editor.)

The question asked in the Corriere report and in other stories coming from Italy is who Cagliari has been sold to; the Qatari foundation, sponsors of Barcelona and PSG, were believed to be in the running, but talk had turned to an "American company rather powerful dealing with the construction of large stadiums" over the last day. Corriere also suggest the two bids could merge.

UPDATE 1.30pm: Tutto Mercato Web say 98% of Cagliari has been sold to the Al-Thani family of Qatar, with 2% remaining with the Cellino family; although "Massimo Cellino will be released by the club." The official announcement is expected on February 14th.

UPDATE 2.45pm: The news of the sale is proving difficult to confirm from this end:

No-one in England/Italy seems to know for certain a) if Cellino has sold Cagliari or b) who he’s sold it to. I say that like I’m surprised

— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) February 6, 2014

The latest information about the sale in Cagliari newspaper L’Unione Sarda, posted yesterday morning, says (again, translated by the power of Google):

Arabs. No, Americans. Cagliari president Massimo Cellino The changes course and comes with an American company selling the club.

Cellino would have even returned to the substantial down-payment on behalf of the Qatar fundation, who in recent days had given in pole position to acquire the company rossoblù. But now an American company specializing in the deal would enter into the construction of stadiums.

All the details in the Sarda on newsstands today, in an article by Henry Pilia.

Late last night statements came from Andrew Flowers and Mike Farnan; Flowers announced he is out and shot several parting comments at GFH; Farnan and Together Leeds were far more diplomatic, saying they are keeping the door open for discussions. An interview with Ross McCormack also put the players view forward – all yesterdays developments are here.

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