Leeds United have finally ended the uncertainty over their ownership by announcing a group led by Massimo Cellino have bought the club.
The club’s former leadership, GFH Capital, announced on Saturday that they had agreed to sell a 75 per cent stake in the club to Eleonora Sport Ltd – a company owned by the Cellino family.
Cellino – twice convicted of fraud – also owns Serie A outfit Cagliari and failed in an attempt to purchase West Ham in 2010.
The Eleonora Sport Ltd defeated a rival bid, chaired by former Manchester United commercial executive Mike Farnan, for control of the club.
A club statement read: “Following recent media reports and speculation, GFH Capital would like to confirm that it has agreed to sell a 75 per cent stake in the club to Eleonora Sport Ltd, a company owned by the Cellino family who have many years’ experience in football and who plan to invest substantially in the club including the re acquisition of Elland Road.
“Eleonora will be working on completing the required Football League approval.
“The Cellino family is a well-known Italian sports family, who have owned Serie A side Cagliari since 1992. They come to English football with an ambition to support Leeds United financially to take it to the Premier League and a belief that the club can sustain top-flight status.
The clarification came after a bizarre 24 hours that saw Leeds manager Brian McDermott sacked and several key administrators reportedly forced out on transfer deadline day.
McDermott had not seen his side win in seven league games, leaving Leeds 12th, eight points off the play-offs.
The 52-year-old was immensely popular at Elland Road and the manner of his departure – which was preceded by Cellino trying to place former Middlesbrough defender Gianluca Festa in the dugout alongside McDermott for Tuesday’s 1-1 draw against Ipswich Town – left a sour taste in the mouth of many.
Two of the club’s partners announced they were likely to withdraw their support of the club in response to a day of turmoil at the club.
Leeds captain Ross McCormack told Sky Sports that he was “absolutely gutted” about McDermott’s departure and that it made him unsure of his future at the club just hours before the transfer deadline closed.
Despite widespread speculation, McCormack – who is the Championship’s top scorer with 18 goals – remained at the club.
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