By Alex Stevens
Massimo Cellino has denied to the Italian media that he has been involved in any “crimes” after being named in the Telegraph investigation into corruption in football.
The Leeds owner was filmed by the newspaper offering undercover reporters posing as an investment firm a way to circumvent FA and Fifa third-party ownership rules.
Cellino spoke for the first time to give his view on the controversy head of Leeds’ Championship clash against Barnsley on Saturday.
“I have not committed crimes,” said the Elland Road chairman, as quoted by Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport. “I have not been corrupted. I have only mentioned a corporate strategy.”
Leeds issued a statement on their official website on Wednesday night that claimed the footage of their owner amounted to a “non-story” as Cellino “made a perfectly proper suggestion which is entirely consistent with the FA’s regulations”.
But The Time to Go Massimo protest group want the controversial Italian to “relinquish all ties with Leeds United immediately”.
— Time To Go, Massimo (@TimeToGoMassimo) September 29, 2016
“Mr Cellino has shown time and time again he is unfit to run a club the size of Leeds United,” read the statement on Thursday by the Time To Go Massimo group.” The revelations in the Telegraph go further. By offering to bend the rules in this way, he has shown himself to be an unfit custodian of our great club.”
The 60-year-old owner is currently the subject of an FA inquiry into allegations that he agreed an illegal payment of £185,000 during the transfer of Ross McCormack to Fulham.
The Telegraph has conducted an undercover investigation into a number of managers and owners across the country using an entrapment technique that has seen Sam Allardyce axed as England manager.
In other Leeds news, fans have reacted on Twitter to Cellino’s reported involvement.