A LEEDS fans’ group has urged the Football League and club president Massimo Cellino “not to engage in endless legal struggles” after the Italian was disqualified from being owner.
The League announced on Monday that Cellino has failed its ‘Owners and Directors’ Test’ after finally obtaining the full written report from the Italian judge who convicted him of tax evasion in March.
Judge Sandra Lepore concluded Cellino had acted dishonestly when failing to pay import duty on his yacht and the League has ruled Cellino must resign from his position immediately. He has 14 days to lodge an appeal.
The 58-year-old will be entitled to return to the club on March 18 next year when the conviction is spent under UK law.
Leeds United Supporters Trust said in a statement: “In light of the decision of the Football League (on Monday) to disqualify Massimo Cellino and the public response of Leeds United, the Leeds United Supporters Trust calls on both the Football League and Massimo Cellino to act in the best interests of the club and its supporters and not to engage in endless legal struggles that ultimately benefit no-one.
“For too long, football administrators and owners have failed to consider the consequences of their actions on loyal Leeds United supporters.
“Our members are frustrated that uncertainty has yet again been introduced to Leeds United and the resulting instability that creates for both the club’s business operations and its supporters.
“This lack of consideration needs to end and the best interests of Leeds United and the integrity of the Championship need to be protected.”
The League has also asked an independent disciplinary commission to consider whether Cellino and/or Leeds further breached League regulations by not disclosing relevant information in a timely manner.
LUST added: “We call for any independent disciplinary commission that is established to finish its business in the shortest possible timescale.
“The Massimo Cellino “fit and proper person” issue has been dragged out for more than nine months, it is imperative it does not drag on endlessly.
“Supporters from numerous clubs have long been aware that the (fit and proper persons’ test) FPPT has been a process unfit for purpose for some time, (these) events only go to re-enforce that notion.
“The Trust believes we are in uncharted waters and therefore asks that both sides bring clarity and honesty to their public statements and consider the supporters’ need for a stable club at all times.”
The League initially attempted to block Cellino’s takeover of Leeds after his tax conviction in April, but the Italian successfully appealed.