By Paul Nicholson
January 4 – The on-off entry of Italian businessman Andrea Radrizzani into the boardroom at English Championship club Leeds United has been concluded with the announcement that Radrizzani has bought a 50% stake in the club from currently banned owner Massimo Cellino for an estimated £25 million.
Radrizzani, a founder of Italian sports rights agency MP & Silva, said he will “work alongside Massimo and everybody at the club to make Leeds as successful as possible.”
That will initially be difficult as in December the controversial Cellino was banned from all football activities by the English FA for 18 months and fined £250,000 for breaching transfer regulations over the sale of Ross McCormack to Fulham. He is appealing the sanction.
Cellino, who has owned Leeds since April 2014 has been banned three times by the FA. Football Association bans in that time. He has had six managers at the club in that time.
Radrizzani has his shares through his company Aser Group Holding. He first began discussions with Cellino in May 2016 before negotiations broke down in October but were reopened last month.
Leeds are expected to spend some of Radrizzani’s money in the current transfer window. The club is currently fifth in the Championship and in a Premier League play off position, seven points off an automatic promotion position.
Radrizzani has said that he wants to buy Cellino out at the end of the season. No official figures have been announced for the value of the sale or how much money Radrizzani will pump into the club.
“I am fully aware of the great heritage and traditions of Leeds United and I will endeavour to be a fitting custodian on behalf of the many thousands of Leeds supporters, who are the lifeblood of the club,” said Radrizzani.
“I am making a long-term commitment to Leeds United and will work to bring stability through ongoing investment. I aim to bring sustainable growth. I won’t do anything that will put the club’s future at risk.”
Cellino, who is currently in Miami, said: “Andrea is young and brings a new energy with him, as well as having a good experience in the football media business, which is the future for all clubs.
“I feel that bringing Andrea in as a 50% shareholder to work with me is the best choice we could have made. We will continue building a strong and healthy football club for the future.”
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