Peter Ridsdale banned from being company director

Peter Ridsdale
Image caption Peter Ridsdale has been chairman of a number of football clubs

Football club chairman Peter Ridsdale has been disqualified from acting as a company director for seven and a half years, the Insolvency Service has said.

His sports consultancy collapsed in 2009 owing £442,353 in tax.

An inquiry found that the 60-year-old channelled payments from football clubs into his personal bank account instead of a company account.

Mr Ridsdale, now chairman of Preston North End, said his lawyers were studying advice he was given.

The ban follows an Insolvency Service investigation. The finding does not relate to his footballing duties as chairman of various clubs.

Mr Ridsdale said the disqualification, for which he has given an undertaking, was "a result of ongoing issues with a personal matter which occurred in 2009".

Future in football

The ban prevents Mr Ridsdale from acting as a director, but also from taking part - directly or indirectly - in the promotion, formation or management of a company.

A spokesman for the Insolvency Service said: "It is up to Mr Ridsdale or the club to decide what his work is and whether or not he is involved in the management or control of the club. We do not know what his terms and conditions are."

In a statement, Mr Ridsdale said: "I am currently undertaking a role of Chairman of Football at Preston North End but am not a director nor at any time have I sought to be one.

"The issues that have brought about this voluntary undertaking are currently in the hands of my lawyers who are dealing with all outstanding issues including the professional advice that was given to both myself and my personal company at the time."

A spokesman for Preston North End said: "We are aware of it [the finding] but cannot say anything at the moment."

Mr Ridsdale has previously been chairman of Leeds United, Barnsley and Cardiff City football clubs.

Under Mr Ridsdale's chairmanship Leeds United built up an attacking team which reached the semi-final of the Champions League in 2001.

Tax bill

Mr Ridsdale, of Carnforth in Lancashire, will now be banned from acting as a company director from 19 October to 18 April 2020.

The ban relates to his actions as director of WH Sports Group Limited (WHSG), which provided sports and leisure consultancy services to football clubs from 2003.

The company went into liquidation in April 2009, owing £478,698 - the vast majority of which was owed in tax to HM Revenue and Customs.

Mr Ridsdale did not dispute findings that:

  • Payments totalling £347,000, for services provided by the business to a football club where he was chairman, were paid into his personal bank account between May 2007 and March 2009 instead of to the company's account
  • He did not disclose the relevant transactions to the liquidator of the company who was subsequently told of them by the football club
  • He failed to ensure tax payments were made by the company. Unpaid tax at the time of liquidation included £166,421 in corporation tax, £102,279 in income tax and national insurance, and £173,653 in VAT
  • He failed to make sure the business filed accounts on three successive occasions

"As someone who has had many directorships, Mr Ridsdale ought to be aware of the responsibilities that come with such a position," said Claire Entwistle, director of company investigations north at the Insolvency Service.

Mr Ridsdale's wife - Sophie Victoria Ridsdale - who was co-director of the company, has also been disqualified. The 45-year-old will be banned from taking any directorships from 19 October to April 2016.

"These disqualifications should serve as a reminder that the Insolvency Service will investigate unacceptable conduct and deal robustly with directors who harm creditors by using unacceptable financial practice," Claire Entwistle added.

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