What a surprise. The subject of the FA's 'fit and proper persons' test is back in the news, this time following the frankly farcical situation surrounding Leeds United. Prospective owner Massimo Cellino managed to convince manager Brian McDermott that he was sacked on Friday night without yet being in control of the club. It should also be noted that Cellino has been convicted twice, on both accounts for fraud.
Yet the Italian could pass, although maybe not with flying colours, the FA's fit and proper person test and takeover Leeds despite being one of the last people you'd want involved with your football club.
The rules for the 'fit and proper person test' clearly state that a person shall be disqualified from acting as a director and no club shall be permitted to have any person acting as a director of that club if:
'He is convicted on indictment of an offence set out in the Appendix 12 Schedule of Offences or he is convicted of a like offence by a competent court having jurisdiction outside England and Wales'.
One of Cellino's offences was for false accounting at Cagliari (the Italian club which Cellino owns), and the other was for defrauding the EU and Italian Ministry of Agriculture out of a whopping £7.5 million. Luckily, in the FA's Appendix 12 Schedule of Offences, look at what we have:
- False accounting: Theft Act 1968, section 17
- Conspiracy to defraud: Criminal Justice Act 1987, section 12
- Conspiracy to defraud: Common Law
So it would seem that Cellino has no chance of taking over Leeds, right? Wrong! Seeing as the last of these offences was over ten years ago, the FA consider it a 'spent conviction'.
If the FA do pass Cellino, a prospect that is looking very likely, it is an absolute joke. The man is a crook. A crook who may not have crooked for over ten years maybe, but still.
The 'fit and proper person' test needs sorting out now. Before more proud clubs like Leeds are made to feel the failures of the system.
Sam publishes regular feature and tips pieces for Howtobet4free. He has a blog, crackingjabulanis.blogspot.co.uk, and can be found on Twitter by following @Gaytski.