GULF Finance House and Massimo Cellino were locked in frantic discussions last night in a bid to resolve funding Leeds United’s latest monthly wage bill.
Both parties remain at loggerheads over who should pay crisis-hit United’s seven-figure staff salary costs for March, due to be paid tomorrow morning.
It remains to be seen whether both parties can find a way to break the impasse and make the payments on time.
Besieged Whites manager Brian McDermott inferred there was concern among United’s players about the impending wages issue in the aftermath of Tuesday’s horror 4-1 loss at Bournemouth.
He said: “There’s all the talk of who’s going to be in (as owner), talk of who’s going to be paid.
“I’m not going to make excuses, but it does affect (results).”
Specifically on the club facing potential difficulties to pay the wages, he added: “I don’t know. I really don’t know what the situation is.
“That comes up on Friday or Monday, whenever it turns up. Hopefully it can be resolved,” he said.
GFH believe that the deal they agreed with Cellino’s company Eleonora Sport to buy a 75 per cent stake in the club in February committed him to funding the club’s operating costs for six months.
But Cellino, following the Football League’s decision to block his bid to purchase a majority stake in United on Monday, is said to be unwilling to pump in additional money, with his takeover in the balance.
Cellino is preparing to challenge the league’s ruling after the Italian was given 14 days to contest Monday’s judgement that he should be disqualified from purchasing the club following his conviction for tax evasion at a court in Sardinia last week.
The agricultural magnate has effectively bankrolled United in the past few months, pumping several millions into the club, believed to be losing £1m a month.
Those funds have included payment of United’s last two wage bills.
Earlier this season, managing director David Haigh provided loans to cover the club’s operating costs and ease the financial pressure at Elland Road.
The current situation has significantly intensified fans’ worries further about the cash plight of United, with Cellino speaking about the club needing “help, blood and money” in “hours, not days” when interviewed on Monday.
Evans future on ice: Page 22.