Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has less than five weeks to settle a winding-up petition served on the club by David Haigh’s company, writes the Yorkshire Post.
The petition was issued by Haigh’s company – Sports Capital – in which the former Leeds managing director is listed as the sole director, called in a loan of almost £1 million around the time of Cellino’s takeover of United last month.
A judge in London is due to consider the petition at a hearing on 9 June and will rule of Sports Capital’s claim against Leeds United.
It is claimed a statutory demand for more than £957,000 gave the Italian owner and the club 21 days to repay the debt, a deadline which both failed to meet.
A winding-up petition was issued to the club 24 hours before their 3-1 win over Birmingham City on April 26.
Cellino, who took control of a 75 per cent stake in Leeds, is understood to have fought the loans and debts created by previous owners Gulf Finance House.
The Yorkshire Post reports the club’s most recent financial accounts show loans totalling close to £1.8 million were paid to Leeds by Sports Capital in November last year after GFH agreed to sell a controlling share to the company.
Sports Capital’s proposed takeover collapsed in late December, paving the way for Cellino to push through his deal with GFH.
After initially being rejected by the Football League, the Italian managed to complete his takeover of Leeds United on April 7 after an independent hearing.
From the outset Cellino had financial issues to settle with a tax bill of more than £500,000 being paid off in his first week at the club and paying wages deferred by United’s playing and coaching staff at the end of March.
The 57-year-old also successfully dealt with two winding-up petitions since the turn of the year, one from shirt sponsor Enterprise Insurance and another from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.
The Leeds owner will now attempt to prevent the club being hit by another winding-up order at the Royal Courts of Justice in London next month by meeting Sport Capital’s bill.