Soccer-Football League blocks Leeds takeover by Italian Cellino

LONDON, March 24 Mon Mar 24, 2014 7:42am EDT

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LONDON, March 24 (Reuters) - The English Football League blocked Massimo Cellino from taking control of second tier Leeds United on Monday after the Italian was fined for failing to pay tax.

Cellino, president of Italian Serie A club Cagliari, had agreed to buy a 75 percent stake in former English champions Leeds but the deal was conditional on clearance by the Football League.

Cellino was fined 600,000 euros ($826,900) last week by an Italian court for failing to pay import duties on a yacht.

"The (Football League) board agreed unanimously that the decision of the Italian Court does constitute a disqualifying condition under its Owners' and Directors' Test," the League said in a statement.

Cellino has 14 days to appeal against a Football League decision which again throws the ownership of Leeds into confusion.

($1 = 0.7256 Euros) (Writing by Keith Weir; editing by Justin Palmer)

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