Leeds & West Yorkshire

Leeds United's Lucy Ward makes football 'dinosaur' claim

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Media captionLucy Ward discusses 'dinosaurs' in football, but also hope for the future

A former Leeds United employee who won her case for unfair dismissal and sex discrimination has said football still has "a lot of dinosaurs".

Lucy Ward said she was sacked because she is the partner of former head coach Neil Redfearn.

The tribunal was told club chairman Massimo Cellino told a third party that women "should be in the bedroom or the beautician's" instead of in football.

In a statement, the club said Mr Cellino denied making the comment.

It added: "Mr Cellino categorically denies making the statement, which has since dominated the media coverage of the hearing, and would like to make it clear that such a statement does not represent his views of women in football whatsoever.

"Mr Cellino is horrified and disgusted that the witness statement was made public to portray him in a light entirely detached from the truth."

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Image caption Leeds United chairman Massimo Cellino "categorically denies" making a derogatory comment about women in football

Ms Ward, the club's former education and welfare officer, told BBC Look North said there was still hope for the future.

She added: "I think there is a lot of dinosaurs in there, as there is in lots of industries.

"There is a new modern, young coach coming into it who has had discrimination and equality training and I think there's more of them than the dinosaurs."

The tribunal concluded, on the balance of probabilities, Mr Cellino told then club executive director Adam Pearson that Ms Ward had to leave the club.

The club denied any wrongdoing and claimed she was dismissed for exceeding her annual leave entitlement after she travelled to the 2015 Women's World Cup to work as a BBC pundit.

The tribunal judge agreed the club had taken a "sexist" view and ruled the reasons for her dismissal were "a sham".

Ms Ward, who worked in the club's academy, said: "I can't let the antics of a couple of people affect what I think of Leeds United, because it's my club, it's every fan's club."

Mr Cellino did not give evidence during the tribunal.

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