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Leeds Soccer Team Buyer Rejected for Ownership by League Board

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March 24 (Bloomberg) -- Italian Massimo Cellino’s attempt to takeover Leeds soccer club was blocked by England’s Football League because he was found guilty of failing to pay import duties on a boat in his native country.

The Football League’s board ruled the decision of the Italian court, which required him to pay a fine of 600,000 euros ($826,000), disqualified him from owning the team, the governing body said today in a statement on its website.

“The relevant disqualifying condition being that Massimo Cellino has been convicted of an offense involving acts that would reasonably be considered to be dishonest,” the board said.

The Italian agreed to buy 75 percent ownership of the club in February from GFH Capital. He has 14 days to appeal the decision.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at