You’re only as good as your last successful appeal, apparently, as Massimo Cellino is no longer the owner of Leeds United.
England’s Football League has banned the mercurial, controversial and disruptive businessman from owning the team due to his tax evasion charges. However, the ban only last three months. Plus, he can appeal it. And he won his last appeal, which was 7 months ago.
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The club has responded by officially appealing the decision, and questioning the ruling, saying it will make it hard for them to do business.
Cellino must resign as a director of the club within 28 days, said the Football League, which runs the three divisions below the Premier League.
After initially being blocked from taking over the 1992 English champions because of the conviction in Italy, Cellino was successful with an appeal in April. Now, after obtaining the Italian court’s judgment, the Football League board has decided again that Cellino breaches the terms of its test covering the suitability of owners and directors.
“The league’s view is that the conduct on which Mr. Cellino’s conviction for tax evasion was based would reasonably be considered to be dishonest,” the league statement said.
Cellino’s disqualification, however, only lasts until March 18, 2015, when the former Cagliari president’s conviction will be served.
This feels so astoundingly backwards, but is it? Essentially, the league is saying that they’re cool with Cellino as soon as the justice system is cool with him. But for a member club, even one in as much disarray as Leeds, to have to conduct business with other businesses while it’s owner is in jail. That’s pretty tricky.
Leeds appeal says, “The steps that the League wishes the club to take – to remove Mr Cellino only to re-appoint him in three months’ time – will be destabilising for the club, its supporters and sponsors and cannot be in the best interests of any party.”
That’s kinda the point, isn’t it? Not say this is a black and white issue, that Cellino should be removed or not punished at all, but surely there’s a better way for this all to go down, right?