MASSIMO CELLINO must wait a little longer before learning whether his appeal against the Football League board’s decision to block his £25 million takeover of Leeds has been successful.
The League disqualified Cellino, aged 57, from becoming owner or a director of the club last week following his recent conviction in a Sardinia court for tax evasion.
Cellino’s legal representatives in London, Mishcon de Reya, lodged a formal appeal on the grounds that the Italian businessman has appealed against that conviction and remains innocent in Italian law until the appeals process is completed.
The League claim Cellino’s conviction bars him from taking control at Elland Road under its owners’ and directors’ test.
An independent QC heard both sides of the argument in London yesterday, but requires more time. The independent QC’s ruling could have serious ramifications for Leeds, who were unable to pay the players’ wages in full on Friday.
Manager Brian McDermott, his backroom staff and players agreed to defer 50 per cent of their March salary until after the appeal had been heard.
Meanwhile, McDermott refused to be drawn on comments made by Cellino in an inflammatory interview broadcast on an internet radio station in which he was highly critical of the manager and GFH Capital, but was unaware his conversation was being recorded.
That prompted McDermott, ahead of tonight’s home game against Charlton, to say: “It was private. What we need is a togetherness here and we’ll get a togetherness.”
Reeling from the 2-1 home defeat to Yorkshire rivals Doncaster on Saturday, McDermott said he wanted his men to carry on where they left off at Elland Road.
“The first half against Doncaster was disappointing, but we came out fighting in the second half.
“We have to show that fighting spirit against Charlton.”