Leeds timeline: The controversies of Cellino

THE FOOTBALL League’s annoucement that Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has failed its Owners’ and Directors’ Test is the latest controversy surrounding the Italian businessman.

Massimo Cellino

The league decided to act in the wake of receiving new detailed evidence from an Italian court who convicted him of tax evasion on his yacht Nelie in March, with the governing body electing to disqualify him for owning the club in the light of the fresh developments.

Cellino has courted controversy during his time in charge of both Leeds and Serie A side Cagliari, with today’s news representing another twist with the future of the Elland Road club again plunged into doubt.

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Here we take a look at the controversies surrounding United’s president and owner in a chronological timeline.

Massimo Cellino. Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe


Massimo Cellino.

Born: July 28, 1956. Age: 58.

1992: Purchases Serie A side Cagliari and sacks 35 managers in the next 21 years at the club.

1996: Given a suspended 14-month sentence after being convicted of deceiving the EU and Italian Ministry of Agriculture out of £7.5m.

2001: 15-month suspended sentence for false accounting at Cagliari.

2013: Arrested as part of an investigation into whether public money was improperly used to finance building part of Cagliari’s stadium.

February 2014: Leeds United announce that Cellino has agreed a 75 per cent buy-out of the club, subject to Football League approval.

March 2014: A court in Sardinia finds Cellino guilty of illegally evading import duty. Ordered to pay a €600,000 (£500,000) fine after being convicted of failing to pay €388,500 in tax on Nelie, a yacht seized by Italian police and customs officials in June 2013.

Football League vote unanimously to block Cellino’s takeover of Leeds and disqualify him from owning the club after failing their owners and directors test.

April 2014: Cellino wins his appeal to an independent QC against the league decision, with his Eleonora Sports company completing the purchase of a 75 per cent stake in Leeds from Gulf Finance House Capital.

June 2014: Cellino agrees to sell Cagliari to Italian company Fluorsid for an undisclosed fee.

October 2014: Cellino’s court trial in Sardinia for tax evasion for allegedly failing to pay import duty of around £75,000 on a second yacht, Lucky 23, is delayed after the judge decided to step down due to a conflict of interest.

December 2014: The Football League announce that Cellino has again been disqualified from owning the club after they received detailed evidence from the Italian court that convicted him of tax evasion on his yacht Nelie.