Peter Ridsdale, the former chairman of football operations at Plymouth Argyle and chairman of Leeds United, Barnsley and Cardiff City football clubs, has been disqualified from acting as a company director for seven-and-a-half years, following an investigation by Company Investigations team in Manchester, part of The Insolvency Service.
Mr Ridsdale, 60, of Carnforth, Lancashire, has given an undertaking to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) barring him from acting
as a company director, and from managing or in any way controlling a company, from 19 October 2012 to 18 April 2020, due to his conduct as a director of W H Sports Group Limited (WHSG).
Mr Ridsdale was brought in as consultant at Plymouth Argyle at the height of the club's financial problems in December 2010.
He became chairman of football, then left the club in December 2011.
Sophie Victoria Ridsdale, 45, Mr Ridsdale's wife and co-director of WHSG, has also been disqualified after providing a similar undertaking which will run for three-and-a-half years from 19 October 2012 to 18 April 2016.
Investigators found that WHSG traded from 2003 to 2007 and was used by Mr Ridsdale to provide sports and leisure consultancy services to football clubs. .
The company went into liquidation on 22 April 2009 with assets of £22,592 and liabilities of at least £478,698, including £442,353 owed to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
In signing the undertaking, Mr Ridsdale did not dispute that:
· Between May 2007 and March 2009, he acted improperly and in breach of his duties to WHSG by causing payments totalling £347,000, received for invoices raised by WHSG for services provided to a football club of which he was the Chairman, to be paid into personal bank accounts held in his own name, to the detriment of WHSG and its creditors.
· He also failed to disclose the relevant transactions to the liquidator of WHSG, who did not become aware of them until July 2010 when information was provided by the football club.
· He failed to ensure that WHSG complied with its statutory obligations to make Corporation Tax, PAYE and National Insurance Contributions(NIC), and VAT,
returns and payments to HMRC as and when they were due. At liquidation WHSG's liabilities included £166,421 in unpaid Corporation Tax, £102,279, in unpaid PAYE and NIC, and £173,653 relating to unpaid VAT.
· He failed to ensure that WHSG complied with its statutory obligations to prepare
and file accounts with the Registrar of Companies by the due dates for three successive accounting periods.
Commenting on Mr Ridsdale's ban, Claire Entwistle, Director of Company Investigations North at The Insolvency Service, 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.
"One of the main purposes of the Company Directors Disqualification Act is to ensure that proper standards of conduct of company directors are maintained, and 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. "