Ridsdale 'vindicated' as court case dropped
ACTING Plymouth Argyle chairman Peter Ridsdale said he has been 'completely vindicated' by a decision to drop criminal charges against him.
Mr Ridsdale had faced fraud and trading charges over a controversial ticket scheme run by Cardiff City Football Club last season.
He appeared at Cardiff Magistrates Court yesterday, where the case was discontinued.
Cardiff Council's Trading Standards Agency had offered 'no evidence' in relation to the charges.
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Mr Ridsdale described the turnaround as a "complete vindication" of his long-stated position that there was no case to answer.
He said: "It is most unfortunate that this case was brought before the courts and that it has brought disruption to my personal life and unnecessary reputational damage.
"I spent five years in the wonderful city of Cardiff and sincerely believe that my contribution to saving the football club from financial meltdown, building both the new stadium and training-ground and taking Cardiff City to three Wembley appearances, speaks for itself.
"I am proud of my contribution to this city and today walk away from the courts completely innocent of any wrongdoing."
He thanked his barrister David Huw Williams QC and Andrew Northage, of Walker Morris Solicitors.
Mr Ridsdale added: "I now go back to Plymouth to finish the job that I started earlier this year in ensuring both their survival and new ownership. In completing this task, just like at Cardiff, I will have proved my critics and doubters wrong."
Mr Ridsdale was Cardiff City's chairman when the club announced a 'Golden Ticket' scheme in December 2009.
It offered fans purchasing season tickets early a full refund if the club gained promotion to the Premier League, promising to spend the proceeds on players in the January 2010 transfer window.
But on January 27 last year the Bluebirds published a statement on their website saying no players would be bought.
The club was under a transfer embargo at the time, imposed by the Football League because of debts including £1.3m in unpaid tax.
Mr Ridsdale stood down as chairman in May last year when a Malaysian consortium took over the club.
Cardiff Council's trading standards department charged Mr Ridsdale with two offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and another under the Fraud Act 2006.
It had been alleged that by omitting the details of a transfer embargo the club was under at the time, the promotion was misleading.
But Cardiff Council's counsel yesterday presented a letter to court saying they would be offering no evidence in relation to the charges brought previously.
Following the hearing, a spokesperson for the local authority said: "The council has recently obtained further evidence from prosecution witnesses and taken the advice of a leading counsel.
"After a thorough analysis of this new evidence, and due to the reluctance of those supporters who raised concerns to provide witness statements, the council considered that a conviction after trial was unlikely.
"Consequently, the Council has decided to discontinue the prosecution."