Leeds takeover goes ahead
Massimo Cellino’s controversial takeover of Leeds United will finally go ahead after the Football League accepted an independent Queen’s Counsel’s decision to allow the Italian to become a director at the Championship club. The league’s governing body originally blocked the deal after deeming Cellino to have failed their owners’ and directors’ test, but that was overturned on appeal last Saturday. Cellino sparked controversy when he sacked Leeds manager Brian McDermott earlier this season, before reinstating him days later. Cellino, 57, will now take up a place on the Leeds board, two months after his Miami-based company ESL first agreed a deal to purchase 75 percent of the club’s shares. The tycoon, who also owns Italian Serie A club Cagliari, was initially barred from purchasing the club due to his conviction for a tax offense in a court in Sardinia last month. Cellino’s lawyers argued that because he had appealed against his tax conviction — a process that could take nine months — he was considered not guilty under Italian law.
Benteke goes under knife
Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke will have surgery in Belgium on the Achilles tendon injury that shattered his World Cup dreams. Benteke ruptured his Achilles tendon in training and Villa manager Paul Lambert confirmed the player has now returned to his home country for the operation. “Our doctor [Roddy Macdonald] is over in Belgium and he has spoken with the surgeon, and it’s pretty imminent he will get it done — today [Thursday], tonight or tomorrow,” Lambert said. “Then after that it’s all about the rehabilitation with him. When it’s a long-term injury you have good days, bad days, like everyone else when they are out injured for a long time, but he’ll be fine.” Even though Benteke, 23, is out of this year’s World Cup finals in Brazil and is unlikely to return to match action until October at the earliest, Lambert is confident he will not lose heart and will be eager to return as quickly as possible. “It’s probably just sinking in now he is going to miss the World Cup, which is a major blow for him, but he is in a generation of Belgian players who will qualify for a few more tournaments down the line,” he said.
Dortmund to sign Sahin
Borussia Dortmund will make use of an option to buy on-loan midfielder Nuri Sahin from Real Madrid, making his return to last season’s UEFA Champions League runners-up permanent, the German club said yesterday. Turkey international Sahin, a product of Dortmund’s youth system, joined Real in 2011, but after failing to hold down a starting spot was loaned out to Liverpool. He returned, again on loan, to Dortmund in January last year for an 18-month spell with an option for the German club to buy him. “We informed Real officials on the sidelines of our Champions League game [on Tuesday] that we will make use of this option,” Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke told reporters.
United-Real tickets sold out
It took less than a day for all the tickets to sell out at the 100,000-plus-seat Michigan Stadium for the Aug. 2 exhibition game between Manchester United and Real Madrid. Organizers of the International Cup Championship said that all the seats were gone on the first day of general sales. Manchester United’s US tour also includes games against AS Roma at Denver’s Sports Authority Field on July 26 and Italy’s Inter on July 29 at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.