Two arrests over claims of ‘financial impropriety’ at Leeds Ladies FC

Gary Cooper, pictured outside Elland Road in 2012.
Gary Cooper, pictured outside Elland Road in 2012.

Police have made two arrests over claims of financial impropriety at Leeds Ladies FC.

A spokesman for Leeds Ladies FC confirmed today that former chairman Gary Cooper, 50, and Nicola Bright, former treasurer to the club, were both arrested this week.

Leeds Ladies FC badge.

Leeds Ladies FC badge.

Speaking to the YEP, Mr Cooper said that he hoped in time the full story would be told.

He said: “I have been asked not to comment by West Yorkshire Police but I hope in time the full story will be told.”

In a statement this morning, West Yorkshire Police said: “Two people have been arrested as part of an investigation into fraud offences related to Leeds Ladies FC.

“They have both been released pending further enquiries.”

Leeds Ladies was set up in 2014 after Leeds United ended its affiliation with the former Leeds United Ladies FC.

The club held an emergency general meeting (EGM) in March, disbanding the previous committee and electing six new members as an executive committee to replace them.

The previous committee was led by chairman Gary Cooper, who helped create Leeds Ladies three years ago after leaving his role as chairman-of-five-years at the LUST supporters’ trust.

Dave Carrington, chairman of Leeds United Supporters’ Trust, said: “We are unaware of the specifics of the allegations.

Gary Cooper hasn’t been on the trust board since 2014.

“We are unable to comment any further.”

It comes after Leeds Ladies FC revealed in June 2016 that it had secured a new deal with US-based Pinder Properties becoming its primary sponsor.

Leeds Ladies FC said in a statement to the YEP that the club now wants to concentrate on all things football and planning for next season.

The statement said: “Earlier this year questions were asked of the club and its committee members as to the whereabouts of certain financial donations which were made to Leeds Ladies FC. These questions remained unanswered, the police were informed and a criminal investigation into the allegations has begun.

“In light of the investigation, an EGM was called by concerned parties due to a lack of confidence in the committee of Leeds Ladies FC. During this meeting, a vote of no confidence was unanimously upheld and a new executive committee were subsequently voted in.

“The club would like to get back to the important business of being a respected women’s football club and would like to concentrate on all things football and the players, and very much looking forward to planning next season under the new structure.

“With full backing from renewed sponsors supporting the new structure, 2017-2018 brings a new hope and renewed enthusiasm to move forward.

“Leeds Ladies FC cannot comment further on the police investigation and are cooperating fully with West Yorkshire Police during this investigation.”

The YEP attempted to reach Nicola Bright for a comment.