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Defiant Massimo Celliono refuses to quit Leeds

By Mark Walker

Leeds United President Massimo Cellino insists he will appeal against the Football League's ruling that he failed its Owners and Directors' Test and has vowed to never "give up on Leeds United".

The League announced yesterday that Cellino has failed its test after finally receiving further evidence from the Italian judge who convicted him for tax evasion in March.

Judge Sandra Lepore concluded in her written report that Cellino had acted dishonestly when failing to pay tax on his yacht and the League has ruled Cellino must resign from his position immediately. He has 14 days to lodge an appeal.

The 58-year-old will be entitled to return to the club on March 18, 2015 when the conviction is spent under UK law.

Leeds responded by accusing the League of "destabilising" the club, while a defiant Cellino insisted he has no intention of selling his 75% stake.

"If I can go (to games) as the President, I'll go as the President. I'm talking about the law, not some lawyers that don't know what they're talking about," he said.

"It's the law that will allow me to go and if not I will go like a supporter and pay for my ticket. I'm never going to give up Leeds United."

When asked if he would ignore any punishment handed out by the League, Cellino added: "I'm not going to ignore it. I'm not like that.

"I'm going to respect everything. I'm going to appeal. I'm going to show them they are wrong and I'm sure that the lawyers of the League have not done a proper job."

The League's decision to disqualify Cellino from having any influence on decision-making at the club will prove difficult to enforce, according to sports lawyer Richard Cramer.

Cramer, principal of Leeds-based law firm Front Row Legal, said the League will not have taken its decision lightly but must explain exactly how their decision will be enforced.

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