Leeds United Stories, Vol. 1

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cellino under harvey’s cloud; jfh & matteo latest names for leeds united job

cellino under harvey’s cloud; jfh & matteo latest names for leeds united job


Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey says Massimo Cellino’s status as Leeds owner won’t be assured until the final judgement in the Nellie yacht case is received.

Harvey, of course, used to hold the same position at Leeds United while Ken Bates was chairman.

Cellino was convicted by a Sardinian court in March of evading €600,000 tax on the yacht Nellie, that he had bought in the USA and brought to Italy.

At first the Football League ruled that the conviction meant Cellino would fail their Owners and Directors Test, but that decision was overturned by QC Tim Kerr, who said that until the judge’s decision revealed whether the tax evasion was a “dishonest act” or not, Cellino couldn’t be said to fail the test.

That left open the chance that Cellino could fail the test when the judgement does finally arrive, and for as long as its publication keeps being delayed, Cellino’s status as owner of Leeds remains in doubt.

That’s the view of Shaun Harvey, anyway, although you wouldn’t envy the man who tried to separate Cellino from Leeds United right now.

“It’s a cloud still hanging over both the Football League and the club and Mr Cellino himself,” he said at the Soccerex conference yesterday. If the judgement goes against Cellino, then “From our persecutive he then fails the owners and directors test and at that stage the provisions are in the rules that he has to divest himself of his interests.”

Only Stephen Vaughan, at Chester City, has been forced to sell up in similar circumstances before; after he sold his shares on to his son, the League’s rules were tightened on ‘shadow directors’ owning clubs by proxy.

Any attempt to dislodge Massimo Cellino would present uncharted waters for the League, and certainly for Harvey.

Meanwhile, interest in the vacant head coach job continues to grow; Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has been talking up his chances, while Dominic Matteo is the latest applicant.