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Cellino set to seal stormy Leeds takeover

Which may not be good news for recently-unsacked manager Brian McDermott.

Image: Richard Sellers/PA Wire/Press Association Images

LEEDS UNITED ARE finally set to be taken over by Massimo Cellino after the controversial Italian bought a 75 per cent stake in the business, the Championship club announced today.

Eleonora Sport, a company owned by the Cellino family, has purchased the stake in the English second tier team subject to Football League approval.

Cellino’s relationship with Leeds has already been a stormy one, with representatives of the Italian having dismissed manager Brian McDermott before the club reinstated him.

His credentials will be examined by the Football League’s “owners and directors test” before the deal, which was confirmed on the Leeds website, can be fully ratified.

The 57-year-old agricultural entrepreneur has twice been convicted of fraud and is awaiting trial for allegations of embezzlement – a charge he denies.

Leeds chairman Salah Nooruddin announced that contracts had been exchanged between the club and Eleonora.

A statement from Nooruddin on the club’s official website said: “I am delighted to announce that we have exchanged contracts for the sale of 75 per cent of the club to Eleonora Sport Ltd, subject to Football League approval.

“GFH Capital and its investors will retain a 25 per cent stake in Leeds United. I will remain the club chairman and David Haigh will be the club CEO.

“The board has always had as its principal aim the creation of a long-term ownership structure through partnership with sound and strategic investors to build on the foundations we have laid for sustainable success for this great club.

“We believe we will have achieved that with this deal. It provides the basis from which Leeds United can move forward to a position which will enable it once again to compete at the highest levels of football.”

- © AFP, 2014

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