The 58-year-old was fined €600,000 earlier this year by an Italian court after being found guilty of failing to pay import duty on his yacht. That initial decision led to the Football League blocking his efforts to buy Leeds United but that decision was overturned in April by an independent QC.
Now the League has acted to bar Cellino under its ‘fit and proper’ owners test after receiving documents from an Italian court regarding the case. However, the ban only lasts for little more than three months and Cellino will be able to be reappointed as a Leeds director once the ban is served.
In a statement this afternoon, the Championship club said:
“We have today received a notice from the Football League disqualifying Mr Cellino from being a director of Leeds United Football Club until 18 March 2015.
“The club is in the process of taking legal advice on the reasoning of the decision. In the interim, the club notes that nothing has changed since the decision of the Football League’s Professional Conduct Committee in April 2014.
“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.”
Leeds’ 2-0 victory over Derby County on Saturday left them in 15th place in the Championship. Cellino announced after the match that he is set to invest a further £20million in the club.