Leeds United exchange contracts on Massimo Cellino takeover

Elland Road, home of Leeds United

Leeds United's owners GFH have exchanged contracts with Massimo Cellino ahead of his proposed takeover.

Cagliari owner Cellino, 57, agreed a deal to buy 75% of the club last week, subject to Football League approval.

"It [the deal] provides the basis from which Leeds can move forward to a position which will enable it once again to compete at the highest levels," said chairman Salah Nooruddin.external-link

"That is where this great club belongs."

Nooruddin continued: "I will remain the club chairman and David Haigh will be the chief executive.

"The board has always had as its principal aim the creation of a long-term ownership structure through partnership with sound and strategic investors to build on the foundations we have laid for sustainable success for this great club.

"We believe we will have achieved that with this deal. Everyone on the board is looking forward to working with our new partners, who we hope will be in place at Elland Road very soon."

Earlier on Friday, the Football League released a statement to say that it was still awaiting full details of the takeover before being able to ratify the deal.

It said: "At its meeting on Thursday, the board of directors of The Football League were appraised of the current situation regarding the ownership of Leeds United.

"The board were informed that the League is yet to receive all of the information it has requested from the relevant parties.

"The matter cannot be progressed further until the required information is forthcoming.

"Separately, Leeds United have been informed that the Football League has refused the registration of Andrea Tabanelli as the transfer did not comply with League regulations."

It had been understood that midfielder Tabanelli, 24, had joined the club on loan from Cagliari on transfer deadline day last Friday without the knowledge of manager Brian McDermott, who was sacked by Cellino's lawyer, Chris Farnell, that evening.

He was reinstated the following day and on Monday said he had no intention of walking away from the club.

The exchange of contracts puts an end to speculation about a potential rival bid from the Together Leeds consortium, who had promised to match Cellino's offer.

Rival bidder Andrew Flowers pulled out of the race to buy Leeds on Wednesday and his company has filed a winding-up petition against the club.

Leeds are 11th in the Championship, eight points off the play-offs.

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