FOOTBALL CLUB chairman Peter Ridsdale has been banned from holding directorships at companies for seven and a half years, the Insolvency Service has said.
A sports consultancy he ran, W H Sports, was placed in voluntary liquidation, with liquidator Ian Franses, of Ian Franses Associates, appointed in early 2009.
Creditors were owed £478,698, including £442,353 to HM Revenue & Customs.
Following an investigation by the Insolvency Service, it was discovered Ridsdale had directed payments from a football club where he was chairman into his personal bank account, instead of a company account.
Ridsdale said in a statement the disqualification was "a result of ongoing issues with a personal matter which occurred in 2009".
However, he did not dispute that he received payments to his personal account for £347,000, which should have been paid to W H Sports for services to a football club of which he was chairman.
He also agreed that he failed to inform the liquidator of these transactions, and failed to ensure tax payments were paid by W H Sports. These totalled £442,353.
Ridsdale's wife and former co-director at W H Sports also received a three-and-a-half-year ban, with both due to commence on 19 October.
Under the terms of the ban, neither can hold a directorship or take part in the promotion, formation or management of a company.
Ridsdale was chairman of Leeds United from 1997-2003, a debt-fuelled period that saw the club eventually relegated and enter administration after it had reached the semi-final of the Champions League in 2001.
He has also been chairman at Barnsley and Cardiff City.
Ridsdale does not believe he will have to leave his current role as chairman of Preston North End FC, which involves no directorship. The Insolvency Service said it is an issue for both parties to decide.
The Insolvency Service's director for company investigations north, Claire Entwhistle, said: "As someone who has had many directorships, Mr Ridsdale ought to be aware of the responsibilities that come with such a position.
"The protection of limited liability is available to those who comply with their obligations as company directors. If those obligations are ignored, the protection will be withdrawn, as Mr Ridsdale has found to his cost."
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