Massimo Cellino says he felt like throwing himself out of a window after having his proposed takeover of Leeds United rejected by the Football League but he is ready to fight on and appeal the decision.
The Football League announced their decision on Monday, stating that they had made their decision based on the fact that Cellino had been found guilty last week of tax evasion by an Italian court after bringing a yacht into Italian waters from the US. The Football League said that the decision to find him guilty disqualified him from taking over at Elland Road and completing a 75 per cent takeover of the club.
The Italians family based business Eleonora Sport had exchanged contracts with current owners GFH Capital and it is reported that he has been bankrolling the club since the turn of the year, having already put in up to £10 million into the club.
Cellino, who has been the owner of Serie A side Cagliari for 22-years, says he is not a dishonest crook and he has been left so shocked by the decision that he felt like jumping out of the window.
Speaking to the Guardian, Cellino said, ‘I’m not a dishonest man. If they say I did this I am stupid. Why would I do something like this, because I am a fool, I am stupid.
‘There’s different justice in Italy, I prefer the English way but I am in Italy unfortunately. I pay millions and millions at clubs and they [the courts] say I tried to screw them over for a small amount. It’s stupid. I could pay that tomorrow.
‘I am not a dishonest crook. If I made a mistake it was not on purpose. I’m shocked, I’m very shocked. I feel like I will disappear, I am so ashamed of myself you have no idea. It’s not about the money at the moment.
‘I didn’t try and do anything bad to Leeds, to anyone, I just wanted to do something good. I’m so shocked that I feel like I will jump from the window right now. I feel so ashamed. Why did they take two months to wait for the decision of the Italian court. I could have delayed the trial for one or two years if I had wanted.’
Cellino has been given 14-days to appeal the decision made by the Football League who voted unanimously to reject the takeover. Early indications are that Cellino will fight the decision and go to appeal, something that will be heard by an independent tribunal according to reports. An independent member as well as two members from the Football League usually hear the appeal.
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