Italian tycoon says to appeal Leeds Utd deal decision

Gulf-owned English football club in limbo after Football League blocks Massimo Cellino in bid to buy majority stake
Italian tycoon says to appeal Leeds Utd deal decision
(Getty Images - Photo for illustrative purpose only)
By Andy Sambidge
Tue 25 Mar 2014 01:17 PM

Italian businessman Massimo Cellino says he will appeal against the Football League's decision to block him from buying a majority stake in Gulf-owned Leeds United.

On Monday, Dubai-based GFH Capital voiced disappointment after plans to sell a 75 percent stake to an Cellino were blocked by the football authorities.

The Football League's decision to disqualify Cellino follows a court ruling last week in which he was found guilty of failing to pay import duty on a yacht.

But in comments published by the BBC on Tuesday, Cellino said: "I have to appeal," said the Italian. "I feel a responsibility to the fans who I am proud to say wanted me."

The Cellino family, headed by Massimo, is a well known Italian sports family, who have owned Serie A side Cagliari since 1992.

He told the BBC that more investment in the English Championship club was required immediately, saying Leeds United needed "help, blood and money" in "hours, not days".

Dubai-based GFH Capital, a unit of Bahrain's Gulf Finance House, said: "The club and its shareholders are disappointed at the decision of the Football League not to approve Massimo Cellino as a director of Leeds United FC.

"However, the Board and Executive Management of the club, will continue discussions with the Football League and Eleonora Sport to find a solution that is suitable to all parties.

GFH bought the club from former Chelsea owner Ken Bates in December 2012 but had planned to cut their stake to only 10 percent by selling out to British investors led by Leeds managing director David Haigh.

But Haigh, who joined the club after the GFH takeover, said in February that his partners had failed to put up the money they had pledged.

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