Peter Ridsdale, the former chairman of Leeds United, has been disqualified from acting as a company director for seven-and-a-half years.

An investigation by Company Investigations, a branch of the Insolvency Service, have imposed the ban due to Ridsdale's conduct as a director of W H Sports Group Limited. Ridsdale's wife, Victoria, has been disqualified for three years.

The company went into liquidation in April 2009 with assets of £22,592 and liabilities of at least £478,698, including £442,353 owed to HM Revenue & Customs.

Ridsdale did not dispute that:

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  • etween 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.

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."

Ridsdale is notorious for his tenure as chairman of Leeds when they grossly overspent at the beginning of the century.

By the time he had stepped down in March 2003, Leeds were £103 million in debt and suffered relegation to the Championship in 2004 before they were went down to League One in 2007.