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Cellino 'won't give up on Leeds' as he plans appeal


Massimo Cellino

Massimo Cellino

Massimo Cellino

Leeds president Massimo Cellino has said he will appeal against the Football League's ruling that he failed its Owners and Directors' Test and has vowed to never "give up on Leeds United".

The League announced on Monday that Cellino has failed its test after finally receiving further evidence from the Italian judge who convicted him for tax evasion in March.

Judge Sandra Lepore concluded in her written report that Cellino had acted dishonestly when failing to pay tax 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 have responded by accusing the League of of "destabilising" the club, while a defiant Cellino insisted he has no intention of selling his 75 per cent stake.

"If I can go (to games) as the president, I'll go as the president. I'm talking about the law, not some lawyers that don't know what they're talking about," he said.

"It's the law that will allow me to go and if not I will go like a supporter and pay for my ticket. I'm never going to give up Leeds United."

When asked if he would ignore any punishment handed out by the League, Cellino added: "I'm not going to ignore it. I'm not like that.

"I'm going to respect everything. I'm going to appeal. I'm going to show them they are wrong and I'm sure that the lawyers of the League have not done a proper job.

"I'm not dishonest. I'm not guilty yet, that's it. If I'm going to have to buy a ticket to watch the game I will do it."

The League's decision to disqualify Cellino from having any influence on decision-making at the club will prove difficult to enforce, according to sports lawyer Richard Cramer.

He said: "It seems the Football League are determined to make life very difficult for him and want to send out a very strong message that they can stop people from running football clubs under their 'Owners and Directors' Test'," he said. "But I think it's duty-bound to explain how the process will work in more detail."