Leeds owner Cellino under fire after ex-manager`s wife wins tribunal

Leeds denied wrongdoing and said she was dismissed for exceeding annual leave entitlement after working for the BBC at the 2015 Women`s World Cup.

AFP| Updated: Apr 15, 2016, 20:59 PM IST
Leeds owner Cellino under fire after ex-manager`s wife wins tribunal

London: Controversial Leeds owner Massimo Cellino faced calls to quit after a former employee won her claim for unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination against the Championship club.

Lucy Ward successfully claimed she was sacked as the club`s education and welfare officer because she was former manager Neil Redfearn`s partner.

Leeds denied wrongdoing and said she was dismissed for exceeding annual leave entitlement after working for the BBC at the 2015 Women`s World Cup.

But Judge Stephen Keevash ruled in favour of Ward, who made it clear she blamed Cellino for ruining her career.

"This has been a nightmare 10 months for me and my family," Ward said. "I had spent 17 years building up an excellent reputation in football for it all to be destroyed on a whim by the current ownership of this wonderful club, Leeds United.

"My record is now exonerated, my name is cleared and I look forward to getting back into work in football.

"This result is for all my friends and colleagues who also had to leave the club through no choice of their own and who weren`t in a position, for whatever reason, to fight. You know who you are."

Leeds issued a statement in which Cellino denied he made sexist remarks that the club said were raised during the case.

But despite the Italian`s denials, the Time To Go Massimo protest group once again called on the 59-year-old to leave.

"Today is yet another in a long line of events that drags the great name of Leeds United through the gutter," a statement from the fans` group read.

"We implore Massimo Cellino to end this farce and sell the club to one of the more credible groups interested in purchasing Leeds United, and to sell it to them at market value."