A Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) chaired by Tim Kerr QC has rejected an appeal by Leeds United President Massimo Cellino against the recent decision by the Board of The Football League that he is subject to a disqualifying condition under its Owners' and Directors' Test.
The PCC found that the reasoned judgment of the Italian Court, once it had become available, was for an act involving dishonesty as determined by the Board in its original ruling in March 2014.
Mr. Cellino’s appeal against that original decision had been upheld on the basis that it could not be concluded that the offence necessarily involved a ‘Dishonest Act’ for the purposes of the Test. Once the reasoned judgment became available, the Board considered the matter again and concluded that it clearly demonstrated that Mr. Cellino’s offence did indeed involve acts that would reasonably be considered to be dishonest.
In its judgment, dismissing Mr Cellino’s appeal against the decision, the PCC states: “We consider that the judge’s findings of fact and her description of Mr. Cellino’s state of mind based on them, is of conduct which would reasonably be considered to be dishonest. We therefore conclude that Mr.Cellino has been convicted of an offence involving a ‘Dishonest Act’ within the meaning of the rules, and that he is accordingly subject to a ‘Disqualifying Condition’.
As a result of this decision, Massimo Cellino is disqualified from acting as a ‘Relevant Person’, as defined by Football League regulations until 10th April 2015. The Football League will provide any assistance requested by Leeds United to help it minimise, as far as possible, the effect this decision has on the Club while Mr. Cellino serves his period of disqualification.
A Football League spokesman said: "The Football League's sole objective throughout this process has been to ensure that our regulations, as democratically approved by our member clubs, are complied with. These regulations uphold principles relating to club ownership that are widely recognised to be in the interests of the game and have the support of the other football authorities, the Government and football supporters generally.”
The constitution of the PCC was agreed between the two parties ahead of last week’s hearing and The Football League would like to thank Tim Kerr QC and the other members of the panel for their time.
In addition, a further misconduct charge against Mr. Cellino and the Club for failing to supply the Italian Court judgment to The Football League when it first became available will be heard by a Football Disciplinary Commission in line with League regulations in due course.
The PCC’s judgment can be viewed in full here