Cellino aims for Premier after winning Leeds United appeal

Massimo Cellino has vowed that he can help Leeds United back into the Premier League after his takeover of the club was granted approval under the Owners and Directors Test.
Massimo CellinoMassimo Cellino
Massimo Cellino

The approval, which came via appeal after being initially turned down by the Football League, will see Cellino’s Eleonora Sport take a 75% stakeholding in the club while former majority shareholders GFH Capital and investors will retain 25%.

Completion of the acquisition will see Massimo Cellino take up the position as president of Leeds United and he will head up a new-look board.

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Cellino made a successful appeal against the Football League’s original decision to block his takeover of the Sky Bet Championship club after being convicted of tax evasion last month in a Sardinia court.

The Football League ruled that Cellino had failed their owners’ and directors’ test but an independent lawyer, Tim Kerr QC, overturned that decision.

After finally being given clearance Cellino told the Sun on Sunday: “I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep and I admit it will be difficult to get promotion next season. But in 2015/16 we will earn our way back to the Premier League, which is where Leeds belong.

“A lot of work needs to be done on the squad. We need new players. In the summer, we will buy some players. I want to focus on English and international players.”

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United, meanwhile, have announced that the club’s managing director, David Haigh, will become chief executive officer.

He said: “This is a significant day in the history of Leeds United. Since GFH Capital took over the club in December 2012, the stated aim has always been to introduce strategic investors to ensure a sustainable future for the club.

“I have met with many potential investors and worked closely with them, and I realised very quickly that Massimo is someone who has the attributes to take this club forward. He has a proven track record in Italy, and I believe the introduction of Eleonora Sport, coupled with Massimo’s drive and determination, will be key to a successful and sustainable future for this great football club.

“I’d like to thank the Football League, GFH Capital, and of course, Massimo and Eleonora Sport for all their hard work over the past few weeks in ensuring that this deal was able to progress.”