‘Football is no place for woman, Cellino told Leeds United official’

Neil Redfearn and Lucy Ward arrive at the tribunal. Picture: SWNS
Neil Redfearn and Lucy Ward arrive at the tribunal. Picture: SWNS
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MASSIMO Cellino allegedly told the manager of the Leeds United women’s team that football was “no place for women” and that they were better off in the bedroom or the beautician’s, a tribunal head today.

Former employee Lucy Ward is claiming unfair dismissal and sex discrimination in a case against the Elland Road club.

The tribunal has heard claims that United owner Cellino sacked Ms Ward because of her relationship with the club’s former manager, Neil Redfearn, who he planned to sack as they “came as a pair”.

Ms Ward said today: “I was treated like a piece of meat.

The tribunal also heard details of an alleged meeting between Cellino and the manager of Leeds United women’s team manager Gary Cooper.

The tribunal heard Ms Ward was told by Mr Cooper the the owner had said to him: “Why do women want to play football? Football is no place for women. They should be in the bedroom or beauticians.”

Ms Ward said Mr Cooper told her about the comment after he became aware that she was pursuing a claim for sex discrimination.

Miss Ward previously told the tribunal that Mr Redfearn was put on “garden leave” just five minutes before she was suspended.

She said: “Neil Redfearn was put on garden leave on July 3 about five minutes before I was suspended.”

The court also heard that Miss Ward had been locked out of her office and the locks had been changed on her doors without her knowledge in May - two months before her suspension.

During evidence by businessman Ismail Ghandour, the tribunal heard that Adam Pearson, Executive Director of Leeds United, had told Mr Ghandour that “Mr Cellino sees them [Miss Ward and Mr Redfearn] as a pair”.

Mr Ghandour said: “I had a meeting with Adam Pearson on, I think, June 23 and I asked him about the rumours that Lucy was going to be next to go. “I told him that I understand managers come and go but why Lucy?

“Adam Pearson said that Mr Cellino sees them as a pair.”

Miss Ward described her suspension and subsequent disciplinary hearing as “bewildering for me having been a committed member of staff”.

The tribunal continues.

Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy at Elland Road on Saturday. Picture by Simon Hulme

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