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Leeds United owner disqualified, but only until conviction becomes spent

There was an interesting article published in the FT recently. What I was particularly interested by was the fact that the disqualification was (rightly) limited until the conviction becomes spent, which since the changes to the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act was reformed in March this year, only takes 1 year for a fine (previously 5 years).

Leeds Utd owner disqualified by Football League

Massimo Cellino’s ownership of Leeds United is again under a cloud after the Football League announced it had decided to disqualify him once more.

Leisure Industries Correspondent Roger Blitz reports the Italian had previously been disqualified in March under the league’s owners and directors test, after he was found guilty in Italy over non-payment of import duties on a boat, and fined €600,000.

He appealed that Football League ruling back in April, after a QC ruled it was “not conduct which would reasonably be considered to be dishonest”.
But the QC said that if the Cagliari court which convicted him of the offence subsequently issued a reasoned ruling which was such that Mr Cellino’s conduct would reasonably be considered to be dishonest, he would be subject to disqualification.

In a statement, the league said:
“At its meeting last week, the board considered the reasoned judgment of the Italian court against Mr Cellino, having successfully applied to the Italian courts for its full disclosure. The board considered detailed legal advice and agreed unanimously… that Mr Cellino is subject to a disqualifying condition under the terms of the test.”

Mr Cellino has 14 days to appeal.

The judgment of the Italian court has not been published in Italy, so the league is not making its contents public, the league said.
League chief executive Shaun Harvey did not take part in the vote because he was previously a Leeds director.
The league said the disqualification would run until March 18, 2015 – four months – since that is a year from the original court decision. Under the Rehabilitation of Offenders act, convictions are spent within a year.
Leeds said it was taking legal advice but noted that “nothing has changed” since the April decision to clear Mr Cellino. It said:
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.”


This content originated from: Financial Times (2014), Leeds owner disqualified by Football League (2014), The probation trust that’s now employing ex-offenders as mentors

Available at (Last accessed 18th December 2014)


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