Showing posts from March, 2014

Leeds United: GFH refuse to pay until appeal held

Yorkshire Evening Post 29/3/14 by Phil Hay Leeds United and owner Gulf Finance House will wait for the outcome of Massimo Cellino’s takeover appeal before completing payment of wages for March after hatching a deal to defer half of the money owed to the club’s first-team squad. Leeds United and owner Gulf Finance House will wait for the outcome of Massimo Cellino’s takeover appeal before completing payment of wages for March after hatching a deal to defer half of the money owed to the club’s first-team squad. United’s players and coaching staff, including manager Brian McDermott and assistant Nigel Gibbs, agreed to accept 50 per cent of the wages owed to them this month after Leeds failed to pay them on time yesterday morning. The delay, which did not affect non-playing staff at Elland Road, came as GFH and Cellino – the Italian businessman whose proposed buy-out of Leeds hinges on an appeal against the Football League – failed to resolve a bitter argument over which of them shoul

Phil Hay - Inside Elland Road: Classless GFH leave Leeds United high and dry

Yorkshire Evening Post 29/3/14 by Phil Hay SHAMEFUL: GFH and would-be Whites owner Massimo Cellino argue over money and the wage bill goes unpaid on another farcical day at Elland Road Wednesday was a day for reflection about football. The game with the nets and the rectangular field. This is the last weekend of March and Tuesday’s harrowing defeat in Bournemouth was an excuse and a cue for some blood-letting at Elland Road. What better time to start deciding which of these cats are out of lives? So naturally Wednesday was devoted to other things as senior employees from Leeds United and Gulf Finance House and lawyers working for Massimo Cellino converged on London to argue the toss over who if anyone would pay the wages for March. Brian McDermott says football is secondary at Leeds but even that opinion is generous. The game is nowhere in the club’s consciousness, as far back from the front counter as United are from the play-offs. The definition of disrepute is being held in low

Consortium wants Leeds talks

Sporting Life 28/3/14 The consortium that lost out to Massimo Cellino in the battle to buy Leeds United has urged the club's outgoing owners to reconsider its bid if the Italian is prevented from completing his takeover at Elland Road. The Together Leeds group, which includes businessmen Mike Farnan, Gary Verity and Adam Pearson - the former Leeds commercial director - among its number, claims it has the progressive vision to lift the troubled club from its current plight. Leeds' players on Friday morning agreed to defer 50 per cent of their wages for March after owners Gulf Finance House Capital (GFHC) failed to pay them the full amount. That came amid what appears to be another full-on financial meltdown at Elland Road, with GFHC understood to be unwilling to finance the club at all, believing that is the duty of Italian Cellino, the Italian they agreed a 75 per cent sale to in February. It is understood GFHC believes he agreed to finance the club for six months as pa

Businessman bides time for Leeds takeover

Football Direct News 28/3/14 by Richard Flynn The Manchester businessman contemplating a takeover bid for Leeds United is prepared to wait until the uncertainty surrounding Italian entrepreneur Massimo Cellino’s offer is cleared up,[football] direct news has discovered. The mystery suitor, who has never been involved with a football club before but is interested in owning one if the price is right, turned down the chance to heavily invest in another Championship outfit, Blackburn Rovers, at the turn of the year. Cellino has looked in pole position to take the helm at Elland Road for some time and he has appealed against the Football League’s decision to block the takeover, which would see him purchase a 75% stake from Gulf Finance House Capital. His bid was disqualified when he was found guilty of not paying import duty on a yacht in Italy. The Manchester-based man holds a genuine interest in Leeds but a source close to him told FDN he is reluctant to put his cards on the table u

Leeds United players defer wages following takeover crisis

Guardian 28/3/14 Club fail to pay player salaries on time for March Football League blocked Massimo Cellino's buy-out Leeds players have agreed to defer part of their wages for March after the club failed to pay them on time. Non-playing staff at Elland Road have received their full salaries as expected, but following a meeting with the club's hierarchy and Professional Footballers' Association officials on Friday morning the players have accepted part payment. The club owners, Gulf Finance House Capital, and prospective owner Massimo Cellino are in dispute over who should fund the players' wage bill after the Football League blocked the Italian's £25m takeover bid earlier in the week. Cellino is appealing against that decision. The PFA chief executive, Gordon Taylor, said: "At the moment the plan is that prospective owner Massimo Cellino will contribute towards the wages for this month, with the players agreeing to wait for the rest until the outcome

Massimo Cellino pays Leeds players 'a proportion' of wages pending appeal outcome

Sky Sports 28/3/14 Leeds players have been paid only part of their wages this month as the ownership of the club remains unresolved. Massimo Cellino's takeover was this week blocked by the Football League after he failed their owners' and directors' test. The Italian businessman is appealing that ruling, and his case is expected to be heard by an independent QC within the next fortnight. In the meantime Cellino - understood to have been bankrolling the club since his company's purchase of a 75% stake was agreed in February - has agreed to pay 50% of the March wage bill. Professional Footballers' Association chairman Gordon Taylor said: "I've been in touch with the players and the club. The players and club have had a meeting. "A proportion of the players' wages has been paid via the prospective owner Massimo Cellino. "The remaining wages will be made subject to Cellino's Football League appeal. There has been a compromise between the


Leeds United Supporters Trust 28/3/14 Following is an email that has been sent this morning to Andy Williamson, Chief Operating Officer of the Football League; Mr. Williamson, Further to the recent rejection by the Football League regarding Mr. Cellino’s proposed takeover of Leeds United, we urgently call upon them to ensure that they will do everything within their power to honour the duty of care to Leeds United as one of their member clubs. We understand that as part of the process regarding a change in ownership, Leeds United have provided the Football League with detailed financial plans and proof of funds going forward. Further to the decision that they have made, we are sure that the Football League will be aware of the financial impact that this will have on Leeds United and therefore we demand that they take every available action open to them in order to ensure that they act in the best interest of their member club and do all that they can to ensure financial stability

Leeds United miss wages payment to players

Yorkshire Evening Post 28/3/14 by Phil Hay Leeds United have missed payment of wages to their players, the Yorkshire Evening Post has learned. General staff at Elland Road received their salaries for March as expected this morning but the playing squad at Leeds were not paid as scheduled. The worrying development comes after a week of arguments between club owner Gulf Finance House and prospective buyer Massimo Cellino over who should fund this month’s wage bill. The Professional Footballers’ Association, the players union, had been in touch with the squad at Leeds in the past 48 hours amid fears that the wage bill would not be met. United’s players are now expected to receive part payment today with the remainder of the money arriving after Cellino’s appeal against the Football League’s decision to reject his takeover is heard next week. Gordon Taylor, the PFA’s chief executive, told the YEP: “The club are meeting the players this morning to try and reassure everyone. “They’re

Leeds United: Whites fans are at end of tethers - Cooper

Yorkshire Evening Post 28/3/14 Leeds United supporters’ trust chairman Gary Cooper speaks to the YEP about the current situation at Elland Road. On Monday, the Leeds United Supporters Trust put out a statement on behalf of our members, reflecting the concern that all of us feel about the future of Leeds United and the state of the club. The response which came back – and it was absolutely massive – showed two things. Firstly the strength of feeling and anger towards Gulf Finance House and the way the bank is running Leeds United and secondly, the worry fans supporters have about the financial situation at Elland Road. I’ve not seen the mood as volatile as this since the Trust marched on Elland Road to call for change in January 2012. I don’t think it goes too far to describe the atmosphere as one of outrage. This isn’t a knee-jerk reaction on our part; the resentment’s been building for a while and what we’ve got at Leeds now is a fanbase at the end of their tether. You only have

Leeds United: We’re fighting for our future - McDermott

Yorkshire Evening Post 28/3/14 by Phil Hay Brian McDermott said he and his players were “fighting for our Leeds United future” as he waited to see if wages owed to the club’s staff would be paid ahead of tomorrow’s derby against Doncaster Rovers. The Leeds manager told his squad to concentrate on securing a role at the club next season amid an unseemly dispute over who was responsible for paying the wage bill for March. Lawyers representing club owner Gulf Finance House and Massimo Cellino – the Italian businessman bidding to buy Leeds for £25m – remained in discussions in London yesterday evening as talks raged about funding salaries for players and staff at Elland Road this morning. GFH wanted Cellino to meet the seven-figure bill, claiming the 57-year-old’s company – Eleonora Sport Limited – had agreed to pay United’s day-to-day costs for a six-month period as part of takeover a deal struck between the two sides in January. But Cellino is reluctant to invest more money in Leed

Manchester businessman plots Leeds takeover

Football Direct News 27/3/14 by Richard Flynn A Manchester-based multi-millionaire is considering a takeover bid for Championship outfit Leeds United,[football] direct news has discovered. The mystery businessman turned down the chance to join a similar project aimed at taking control of Blackburn Rovers earlier this year, but he retains an interest in becoming involved with a football club. He spent the best part of a year pondering entrepreneur Ian Currie’s request for him to pump money into an offer for Rovers before opting against the idea. Currie intends to wrestle control from controversial owners Venky’s but needs help from elsewhere. A source close to the businessman told FDN that he is giving serious consideration to the prospect of bidding for Leeds and is monitoring with interest the situation surrounding Italian Massimo Cellino, who also wants to take the helm at Elland Road. The Football League has revealed that Cellino has appealed against its decision to block the

Brian McDermott looking to sort out Leeds United inconsistency

Leeds United boss Brian McDermott says he is looking to iron out the inconsistency in the side with two home games in four days coming up. Leeds face both relegation threatened Doncaster Rovers and Charlton Athletic at Elland Road and McDermott will be desperate to see his side go past the fifty point barrier. The whites currently have 47 points and they have picked up just fourteen points from seventeen games since their win at Doncaster in mid-December. Leeds beat Millwall last Saturday to record their first win in seven games but this was followed up by an abysmal performance at Bournemouth in midweek, where they lost 4-1 and McDermott wants to see his side return to form. Speaking at his press conference ahead of the game with Doncaster, McDermott said, "The inconsistencies in the performances and we are trying to eradicate the inconsistency in the performance. "We have two games coming up at home and we have to have consistent performances. We have been inconsistent

Football League issue statement regarding Leeds United takeover 27/3/14 The Football League issued the following statement on Thursday afternoon... The Football League can confirm that the legal representatives of Massimo Cellino have lodged an appeal against The League’s decision that he is subject to a disqualifying condition under its Owners’ and Directors’ Test. The appeal will be heard by an independent QC, who will have access to independent expert evidence relating to certain aspects of Italian law and will determine the matter following submissions from both parties. The appeal will be convened at the earliest opportunity, in line with The Football League’s previous commitment to expedite the appeal process to deliver much-needed certainty to all the relevant parties.

Massimo Cellino appeals against decision to block Leeds United takeover

Guardian 27/3/14 Italian failed 'fit and proper' test after tax conviction Cellino hopes to convince Football League to change verdict Massimo Cellino has appealed against the Football League's decision to block him from buying a majority stake in Leeds. The appeal will be heard by an independent QC and is expected to take place within the next two weeks. The Italian businessman was disqualified under the league's owners' and directors' test this week after being convicted of a tax offence by a court in Sardinia. The offence related to the non-payment of import duties on his boat and resulted in a fine of €600,000 (£500,000) by a Sardinian court and the confiscation of the boat. The QC in charge of the appeal will be given access to specialist advice on Italian law – something that will be necessary given that Cellino, the owner of the Serie A club Cagliari, has claimed that because he is appealing against the court's verdict under Italian law he should

Leeds United: Massimo Cellino takeover appeal confirmed

BBC 27/3/14 The Football League has confirmed that Massimo Cellino has lodged an appeal against its decision to block his takeover of Leeds United. Cellino heads Eleonora Sports, which agreed to buy a 75% stake in Leeds from Gulf Finance House Capital in February. His bid was disqualified on Monday, after he was found guilty of not paying import duty on a yacht in Italy. He told BBC Sport he intended to appeal against the ruling, saying he felt a "responsibility" to do so. A Football League statement read: "The Football League can confirm that the legal representatives of Massimo Cellino have lodged an appeal against the League's decision that he is subject to a disqualifying condition under its owners' and directors' test." The statement added that the appeal would take place "at the earliest opportunity". Over the last two months, Cellino has invested around £6m in Leeds, who are losing more than £1m per month. The club's wage bil

Lee Peltier's loan move to Nottingham Forest held up by rival interest

Sky Sports 27/3/14 By Pete O'Rourke Lee Peltier's agent claims interest from other clubs has held up his protracted loan switch from Leeds United to Nottingham Forest. Forest agreed a deal to sign Peltier on Monday, but the move appeared to be off after complications arose between the two clubs. Bolton expressed an interest in signing the former Liverpool man, but now Forest have secured the signature of the player before the close of the loan window on Thursday. Peltier's agent, Barry Whelan, says interest from other clubs held up the defender's move to Forest and that the former Leicester and Huddersfield full-back always had his heart set on a switch to the City Ground. "We have been in conversations for the last three weeks with Nottingham Forest over a long-term move for Lee, but there has also been interest shown in him from two other big clubs and that complicated things," Whelan told Sky Sports. "Lee has always wanted to go to Forest, but t

Leeds United: Peltier loan saga in hands of the FA

Yorkshire Evening Post 26/3/14 by Phil Hay Lee Peltier’s immediate future remained unclear last night amid suggestions that Bolton Wanderers have ended their interest in signing him before tonight’s emergency loan deadline. The Leeds United right-back – caught in the middle of a bizarre transfer saga – was expected to move to the Reebok Stadium after Nottingham Forest attempted to pull out of a deal to recruit him. But sources in Bolton claim the Lancashire club are no longer interested in striking a deal of their own. Leeds reached an agreement with Forest on Monday and say the transfer was formally finalised. Forest, however, attempted to abandon the move after talks to appoint Neil Warnock – the man who brought Peltier (inset) to Leeds – as their new manager broke down. Speaking on Tuesday night, Bolton manager Dougie Freedman (right) said: “He was going to sign for Forest. There was some confusion which held some things back from Forest’s end. “I’m a fan of Lee, blatantly, a

Leeds United: Crunch time in talks on wages

Yorkshire Evening Post 26/3/14 Gulf Finance House and Massimo Cellino were in urgent talks last night amid entrenched disagreements over the payment of Leeds United’s wage bill for March. United owner GFH and prospective buyer Cellino are at odds over which of them should meet this month’s salary costs, with staff at Elland Road due to be paid first thing tomorrow. The club needed money in place by this morning to ensure that wages for March were delivered on time but reluctance on the part of both GFH and Cellino to shoulder a seven-figure bill led to frantic discussions yesterday. Requests for an immediate cash injection are understood to have been made to third parties in the past 24 hours, with GFH and Cellino refusing to concede ground. United managing director David Haigh met with GFH chief executive Hisham Alrayes in London in an attempt to break the impasse. The dispute comes as doubts about Leeds’ financial position grow on the back of comments made by manager Brian McDer

Ken Bates blasts current Leeds United situation

Sky Sports 26/3/14 Former Leeds owner Ken Bates has told the club's current hierarchy to get "out the way" as the confusing situation at Elland Road shows no sign of abating. Gulf Finance House Capital, who Bates sold the Championship club to in December 2012, is currently looking to find a solution after the man they wanted to sell to, Massimo Cellino, was told he could not complete his transaction by the Football League. The Italian was found guilty of tax evasion in his home country last week and as such failed the League's owners' and director's test, leaving GFH with a conundrum to solve. It selected Cellino and his Eleonora consortium as its preferred bidder last month, with the decision coming days after a group consisting of club sponsor Andrew Flowers and current managing director David Haigh fell apart. Bates has remained in the background since selling the club, but the 82-year-old spoke out on Wednesday, claiming his wife had loaned GFH money a

Leeds United: New wage bill fear

Yorkshire Evening Post 26/3/14 by Phil Hay Gulf Finance House and prospective Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino are today locked in last-minute talks about funding the club’s wage bill for March. The YEP understands that the two sides are attempting to thrash out a deal to meet salaries due on Friday morning following a suggestion from manager Brian McDermott that staff at Elland Road fear they will not be paid. McDermott appeared to point to impending and immediate financial problems at Leeds following the Football League’s decision to reject Cellino’s £25m buy-out of the club on Monday. Talking after a 4-1 defeat at Bournemouth last night, the United boss said: “There’s all the talk of who’s going to be in (as owner), talk of who’s going to be paid. I’m not going to make excuses but it does affect (results).” Asked if he thought there would be difficulties with paying staff this month, McDermott said: “I don’t know. I really don’t know what the situation is. “That comes up on

Bournemouth 4 Leeds United 1: Mac is left all at sea by shambolic Whites - Yorkshire Evening Post 26/3/14

by Phil Hay This season will end soon enough, the only small mercy Leeds United can count on. Quite when the club’s purgatory will end is impossible to say but no time soon if the first 48 hours of this week are anything to go by. Massimo Cellino felt the crack of the whip on Monday morning, his takeover rejected by the board of the Football League, and Brian McDermott took the lashes in Bournemouth last night as his squad sold him down the river with a spineless defeat which no manager could explain, less still defend. United’s manager has reflected on so many beatings this year that he can only conclude that something is terminally wrong, not merely at the very top of the club but among his own dressing room. If the players were playing for him at Dean Court, their body language and application during a pitiful first hour looked more like mass desertion. One goal down after 67 seconds and three adrift after 30 minutes, they were never in the game and barely on the pitch. Thes

Leeds United: Cellino’s legal team confirm he’ll appeal

Yorkshire Evening Post 26/3/14 by Phil Hay Massimo Cellino’s UK lawyers confirmed last night that they are preparing an appeal against the Football League’s decision to block his takeover of Leeds United. Mishcon de Reya, the London firm which has represented Cellino throughout his bid to buy a majority stake in Leeds, will present a legal challenge to the Football League inside the 14-day window given to the Italian to appeal. Cellino’s £25million buy-out of current United owner Gulf Finance House was formally rejected by the League on Monday after the governing body’s eight-man board met to discuss his proposed takeover the previous day. The League ruled that a conviction for tax evasion imposed on Cellino a week ago breached its Owners and Directors Test and disqualified him from taking charge of the club. Cellino, 57, was given two weeks to lodge an appeal and a spokesperson for Mishcon de Reya told the YEP: “Mr Cellino will be appealing the decision. We have no further comme

Leeds United: I won’t quit - Mac

Yorkshire Evening Post 26/3/14 by Phil Hay Brian McDermott insisted he had no intention of quitting his post as Leeds United manager as he faced up to another appalling result away to Bournemouth last night. McDermott said he would not consider resigning and was committed to continuing in his post, despite an imploding season and a directionless club above him. The 52-year-old cut a shocked and dejected figure after four goals in 52 minutes consigned Leeds to a 4-1 defeat at Dean Court, a scoreline and performance McDermott described as “bitterly disappointing.” He refused to use the on-going takeover saga at Elland Road as an excuse for last night’s loss –but said the doubt over his future and the proposed buy-out of United by Italian businessman Massimo Cellino was in part to blame for their decaying campaign. Cellino’s 75 per cent takeover is on the verge of failure after the Football League barred him from buying Leeds on Monday. The 57-year-old intends to appeal. McDermott

Sorry Leeds suffer seaside nightmare

Telegraph 25/3/14 By Jim White It has not been a good week for Brian McDermott. The Leeds Unitedmanager has seen his club pushed to the very lip of extinction by another series of boardroom blunders which culminated in Massimo Cellino, a putative new owner, being deemed by the Football League as not a fit and proper person to take charge of a club. Then on Tuesdat night McDermott stood hapless on the touchline as his team produced an unwanted piece of history: this was the first occasion they have lost to Bournemouth. Actually, they were not just beaten, they were hammered. And McDermott believes there is no coincidence. The feeble, lacklustre display on the field mirrors what is going on in the boardroom. “It does affect what’s happening on the pitch,” he said of the ownership shenanigans. “There’s no doubt about that. All the talk is about who’s going to be in, are we going to be paid, this and that. And this has been going on for quite a time.” Leeds were 3-0 down within 28 min

Bournemouth 4-1 Leeds: Cherries run riot as visitors' week goes from bad to worse

Mail 25/3/14 By SAM CUNNINGHAM It took merely 66 seconds for a disastrous week in the history of Leeds United to get even worse against Bournemouth. Then it got worse. And worse. And worse still. The first goal was relatively scrappy, former Leeds legend Ian Harte spraying a corner to the edge of the box which was met on the volley by Simon Francis and poked in by Yann Kermorgant. By 18 minutes Bournemouth had scored a slightly more refined effort, this time Francis bursting down the right and crossing low for Lewis Grabban to steer into the bottom left corner. When the third came 10 minutes later they were so well-practiced it was even better, right-back Francis again marauding down the wing, this time passing into Grabban who took a touch before firing past Leeds goalkeeper Jack Butland. It was as if the away defence had given up when they allowed Kermorgant to nod in a fourth, completely unmarked, on 52 minutes. What on earth must Phil Beeton, attending his 2000th consecutiv

Teenage winger Gboly Ariyibi joins Tranmere on loan

Image 25/3/14 Teenage winger Gboly Ariyibi has joined Tranmere Rovers on loan until the end of the season. The youngster, a product of Southampton's Academy, signed a short-term deal with the club in December. Gboly, who made his debut at Nottingham Forest and also featured against Blackburn on New Year's Day, will be hoping the move to Tranmere will see him gain further experience.

Southampton eye Sam Byram transfer from Leeds as Calum Chambers' potential replacement

Mirror 25/3/14 By Ed Malyon Saints hope to hang onto teenage defender who is on the radars of Arsenal and Manchester United - but do have contingency plans Southampton are eyeing a cut-price move for Leeds full-back Sam Byram if Calum Chambers leaves the club this summer. Mauricio Pochettino hopes to keep hold of the talented defender in spite of interest from Manchester United and Arsenal, but is keeping tabs on England Under-20 international Byram’s situation at the Championship club. Nathaniel Clyne would likely become first choice at St Mary’s if Chambers is sold, but the Saints are keen on Byram’s versatility and encouraged by reports that have suggested his character would fit in well with Pochettino’s squad. Mirror Sport understands the financially-troubled Elland Road club would not be able to turn down significant offers for the 20-year-old this summer unless a takeover is complete. Italian millionaire Massimo Cellino has been paying salaries since the turn of the year b

Leeds United takeover: Fans demand assurances from GFH following Massimo Cellino ruling

Independent 25/3/14 The Italian has been barred from taking over the Championship club Leeds United Supporters Trust has demanded “a concrete and substantial statement” from club owner GFH Capital after the Football League blocked Massimo Cellino's takeover. The League announced on Monday that Cellino's conviction last week for a tax offence in Italy constituted "a disqualifying condition under its owners' and directors' test". The Italian has 14 days to lodge an appeal and his lawyers have said he will do so. GFH Capital has confirmed it remains in talks with the League and Cellino's company, Eleonora Sport, in a bid "to find a solution that is suitable to all parties". Cellino has been bankrolling the club for the last two months and Leeds fans now fear the club may slide towards administration. Leeds chief executive David Haigh has categorically denied that will happen, but fans' group LUST wants urgent assurances. "Our member

Football League rejects Massimo Cellino's bid to buy Leeds United

Guardian 25/3/14 Italian fails owners' and directors' test over tax fraud Lawyers announce intention to appeal against decision James Riach Massimo Cellino's deal to buy Leeds United was rejected by the Football League, casting serious doubt over the club's financial future with the Cagliari owner having spent around £10m funding the club in recent months. The Italian, whose company Eleonora Sports agreed a £25m deal to buy 75% of Leeds from Bahrain-based investment bank GFH Capital in February, was rejected under the League's owners and directors' test after being found guilty last week in an Italian court of failing to pay €388,500 of import tax on a yacht. Cellino's lawyers announced last night that the 57-year-old intends to appeal a decision he admitted had made him "feel like I will jump from the window right now". Leeds wrote to the League last week following a protracted saga that provided its most chaotic night at the beginning of F

Leeds United: Brian McDermott’s left to front up on another dark day

Yorkshire Evening Post 25/3/14 Defiant: In the wake of Cellino’s bid collapsing Brian McDermott faced the media but the last thing he wanted was sympathy. Leon Wobschall reports. BRIAN MCDERMOTT and his Leeds United players have been here before. In a similar part of the country as well. United players and staff boarded their team coach at Thorp Arch yesterday for a epic trip to the other end of England in Bournemouth, just as they did in early February when they had also an appointment in the deep south at Yeovil. Five-hour motorway journeys to the likes of Huish Park and Goldsands Stadium may represent one of the more unwelcome facets of being a footballer up north. But given the intense situation that is consuming Leeds back in West Yorkshire where the main – make that only – topic of conversation is the tortuous off-the-field saga, being well away from that particular toxic environment, even for just a few days, is probably a blessed relief for players and staff. McDermott pr

Leeds United: Cellino set to appeal decision

Yorkshire Evening Post 25/3/14 by Leon Wobschall Confusion reigns following another bewildering day at Leeds United after club owners GFH Capital revealed they have not given up hope of Massimo Cellino’s company Eleonora Sport taking over – despite the Football League disqualifying him from purchasing a majority stake. The league issued a statement yesterday morning saying that the Italian businessman, convicted last week for tax evasion after not paying import duty on a yacht, had failed their owners and directors’ test. Several hours later, GFH Capital insisted they were still in talks with the league and Eleonora Sport in a bid “to find a solution that is suitable to all parties”. The rival Together Leeds consortium, led by Mike Farnan, are monitoring developments and plan to meet towards the end of this week. In line with league regulations, Cellino is entitled to appeal against the decision within 14 days and the indications last night suggested he will carry on his fight to

Phil Hay: Where next for GFH and Leeds United?

Yorkshire Evening Post 25/3/14 There was always a chance Cellino’s bid for United would be blocked. Now everyone is waiting to see if GFH have a Plan B. Phil Hay reports. Gulf Finance House should have known from the start that in Massimo Cellino it was dealing a wildcard to the suits and solicitors of the Football League. Around the time that the Bahraini bank began discussing the sale of Leeds United to Cellino, a background report on the Italian businessman was commissioned and written on GFH’s behalf. Called ‘Project Athena’, it laid out convictions, allegations and incidents involving him; evidence to suggest the Football League might find a reason to wave the red flag. The issues highlighted were considered too spent, too unsubstantiated or too frivolous to warn GFH off so a £25m deal was done but the guilty verdict handed down to Cellino by a Sardinian court last week, convicting him of tax evasion, meant GFH’s standards of fit and proper mattered less than the Football Lea