Leeds United: Massimo Cellino in new row over Ross McCormack transfer

Leeds United president Massimo Cellino.
Leeds United president Massimo Cellino.
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Massimo Cellino is heading for another fight with the authorities after he and Leeds United were charged by the Football Association over an alleged illegal payment made by the club during the transfer of Ross McCormack to Fulham.

Leeds and McCormack’s licensed agent, Derek Day, are accused of breaching the FA’s agent regulations during the Scotland international’s multi-million pound move from Elland Road in 2014.

United owner Cellino is alleged to have contravened FA rules with his involvement in that deal.

The charges surround a payment of £185,000 which Leeds agreed to make to Day following the sale of McCormack two years ago.

Day is alleged to have taken that money on behalf of McCormack’s advisor, Barry Hughes, who is not licensed by the FA. That deal is seen by the governing body as a breach of its rules governing football agents.

McCormack was sold for a reported sum of almost £11m, one of the first transfers completed after Cellino’s takeover of Leeds in April 2014.

The FA has been investigating allegations of an illegal payment for many months and brought charges against the three parties yesterday. They have all been given until Friday to submit a response. A statement from the governing body read: “Leeds United have been charged for breaching the FA’s football agent regulations. The alleged misconduct relates to the transaction involving the transfer of Ross McCormack from Leeds to Fulham on July 8, 2014.

“Leeds chairman Massimo Cellino and authorised agent Derek Day have also been charged for breaching FA Rules and the FA’s football agent regulations respectively, in relation to the same matter. All parties have until 20 May 2016 to reply to the charges.”

McCormack is not accused of any wrongdoing.

The FA has given no indication as to what penalties Leeds, Cellino or Day might face but sources familiar with offences of this nature say fines are most likely.

United declined to comment last night but the charges come just days after the Football League was forced to back down from its attempt to inflict an ownership ban on Cellino for a tax conviction in Italy. That punishment is set to be withdrawn following the decision by Italy’s Court of Appeal to quash Cellino’s offence.