Cellino Rules Out April Return

Instead, the Italian owner, who was disqualified in January from having anything to do with the running of the Sky Bet Championship outfit until April 10, will fight to clear his name as an independent citizen.

At the time, the 58-year-old indicated he intended to return to Elland Road when his disqualification period ended.

The former Cagliari president also revealed that he had sold a minority stake in the club via an open letter to Leeds fans on official website leedsunited.com on Tuesday evening

It read: "I have considered in the best interests of the club to postpone any release of my true thoughts and conclusion in relation to the 79 days disqualification verdict of the Football League and it was for not unsettling the harmony of the team in a period of key league tournament matches that I have measured to reveal my decision only today, because the qualification for the 2016 Championship is by now achieved.

"For the reason above said, at first I suggested that my intention was to resume in April the office of president of Leeds United Football Club after expiration of the disqualification term.

"I will not do so and I had actually decided not to do so in January already, soon after the confirmation by the Football League of its verdict.

"I wish to point out that I have immediately complied with all the requests of the Football League and, for such purposes, I instructed my consultants to arrange for all required actions in order to ensure my prompt exit from any management responsibility in the club.

"After a due process, I have also sold - with a clear harm to my interests - a minority stake in the club, so that in no way I could be prevented from freely acting as an independent citizen and individual before any authority.

"My decision has developed because I have realised that about one year ago I had been admitted as president of the club when the latter was very close to insolvency.

"Only after my restructuring activities and the material funding by the new corporate member I found myself expelled from the club on the basis of interpretation and immediate application of an Italian measure that, although in Italy is ineffective and subject to reasonable cancellation, the Football League has elected to enforce under its own rules.

"Moreover, while I am already ousted, the Football League is now pursuing a new claim against me based on circumstances that do not belong to me and have already been clarified and heavily stigmatized by my lawyers.

"All of the above leads me to reconfirm the decision already reached in January so that I may be free of defending myself as any normal citizen, and I will not hesitate to do so before any authority because of my honesty, my commitment and due care to the club for which I have already invested one year of hard work.

"This is what I am called for also honouring a team that I have loved and for all the support and attachment I have received from fans, players, employees, contractors and professionals who have been close to me and I wish to thank once again.''

Leeds chairman Andrew Umbers confirmed Cellino had sold the minority stake he personally held in the club and in Eleonora Sport Limited, the consortium which owns the club.

He told the club's official website: "Massimo Cellino is taking this independent action so that Leeds United is seen to be fully compliant with the Football League rules and thus help the football club avoid any sanctions.

"The club are optimistic as to the outcome of the disciplinary panel hearing and of the rule K hearing."

Source : PA

Source: PA