Leeds owner Massimo Cellino has been banned for 18 months – effective from February 1, 2017 – for breaking the Football Association’s agent regulations, the governing body has announced.
Here’s a look at some of the questions surrounding the decision.
The Football Association has been investigating the transfer of Ross McCormack from Leeds to Fulham in the summer of 2014.
It charged Cellino and Leeds in May, with the former pleading not guilty. It is alleged a payment was made to an unlicensed agent within the transaction. After nearly seven months, the FA announced its decision today. There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by McCormack.
The FA has said Cellino cannot act as a director or shadow director at any club or any company which owns a club for 18 months. This is not the first time he has been placed under such controls.
In 2014, the Football League banned him for six months based on a tax offence in his native Italy.
In a word, no. Large spells of Cellino’s time in England have been spent appealing sanctions – he only took over the club after a successful appeal relating to a tax issue in Italy – and he has already signalled his intent to contest. “I am guilty of one thing, protecting Leeds United,” he said.
Out of keeping with most of his tenure, Cellino has been a background figure at Elland Road this season. Since the June appointment of Garry Monk, he has given few media interviews and has tempered his outbursts.
More so, he has been working with businessman Andrea Radrizzani on a deal which would see his fellow Italian buy 50%, if not all, of his shares. That could now be accelerated, especially given Leeds are having their best season since 2005-06.