Massimo Cellino has completed his purchase of English soccer club Leeds United, according to his lawyers at Mishcon de Reya.
The Italian, 58, had agreed terms with the club’s current owners, Gulf Finance House (GFH), on buying a 75 per cent majority holding in the Championship club in February through his company Eleanora Sports. However, the Football League disqualified Cellino for failing its ‘fit and proper persons’ ownership test when he was found guilty by a court in Cagliari of failing to pay import duty on the purchase of a €600,000 yacht.
Cellino challenged the Football League’s verdict on the grounds that he had not wilfully misled the Italian authorities and his appeal was upheld by an independent QC last Saturday, leaving him free to complete his takeover. He is expected to pay an UK£11 million fee and settle existing club debts of UK£23 million.