Date:Sunday March 9 2014
Massimo Cellino says he will walk away from the club if the Football League do not ratify his deal to buy a 75 percent stake in Leeds United.
The Italian, who is the current owner of Serie A side Cagliari, is currently waiting to hear from the Football League as they check to see whether he will pass the fit and proper persons test to run a Football League club.
Cellino has been waiting since the end of January after agreeing to buy a 75 per cent stake in the club from current owners GFH Capital, with the deal between the two now being agreed and contracts exchanged.
The Football League have twice released statements stating they are waiting for more details from the club and Cellino before making a decision on the deal and they have said they will not discuss the matter before the next Football League meeting on March 13th.
The Italian entrepreneur, who now lives in America, has twice been convicted of fraud in the past and he is currently awaiting trial for embezzlement and tax evasion.
Cellino is facing a charge of tax evasion for not paying tax duty on a yacht he took to Italy from the US in 2010 and he is due to appear in court on March 18th and it is now believed the Football League will delay a decision until after the court`s decision.
His lawyers are confident that Cellino will escape punishment when it goes to trial in a Sardinian court in just over a week`s time but if he is found guilty, it is expected that the Football League will turn down his bid to buy the club and he says he will not fight any decision they make.
Speaking in the Sun, Cellino said, "I actually appreciate what the Football League are doing and it is good that they are being so thorough.
"I just hope they do this with everyone now because they haven`t in the past.
"If they turn me down, I will walk away - I will not fight it. I will go back to Miami to spend all my time with my wife and children."
If the deal does not go through it leaves an uncertain future for the club who have lost in the region of £11 million since GFH Capital took control of the club from Ken Bates in December 2012.
It is believed that Cellino has been keeping the club afloat in the past few months, having paid the players wages as well as staving off a winding up petition from the clubs main shirt sponsors by paying an unpaid debt of £1.5 million.
The club have reportedly been amassing a number of unpaid debts in recent months with Cellino also believed to have paid off the debt to the company who have been fitting the new 4g football pitches at Thorp Arch. The pitches have been left unfinished for the past few months but were completed last week after their outstanding debt was paid.
It is worrying times once again for the clubs supporters who have seen it all in the past ten years having almost gone out of business on more than one occasion. This is probably the main reason why fans have made an about-turn with Cellino since he first walked into the club at the end of January and instantly sacked manager Brian McDermott.
Fans barracked Cellino into the Elland Road ground allowing him to leave on the night of the sacking and there were demonstrations against him at the game with Huddersfield Town the following day.
Current owners GFH Capital reinstated McDermott stating that they were still in control of the club but after that rocky start with the fans, most are now fully aware that they need this deal to go through.
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Date:Sunday March 9 2014
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