Two former professional footballers have been disqualified as company directors for failing to fulfil the funding requirements for sports apprenticeships with training company Luis Michael Training Limited (LMT).
Paul Sugrue, previously of Manchester City, and Mark Aizlewood, an ex-Wales international, have been disqualified for six years each starting from September 2013, following an investigation by The Insolvency Service.
Co-directors Keith Williams and Christopher Martin have also been disqualified for six-and-a-half and eight years respectively, beginning November 2013.
Incorporated in 2009, LMT was a subcontractor which provided training, assessment and quality assurance of sport qualifications on behalf of colleges throughout England.
These activities were funded by the Skills Funding Agency (formerly the Learning and Skills Council) which paid colleges which in turn made payments to LMT.
In the course of the investigation, it was discovered that one of the colleges cancelled its contract with LMT in late 2010, due to anomalies with funding.
The external auditors of the college carried out an audit in which they identified ineligible claims made by LMT.
It was also discovered that LMT had submitted ineligible claims for Welsh learners, failed to ensure that all learners were in employment, and submitted claims learners who did not participate in or had withdrawn from the programme.
As a result, the Skills Funding Agency demanded repayment from the college, which consequently sought to reclaim the funds paid to LMT. LMT’s failure to repay the funding, which led to the presentation of a winding up petition for £2,573,994 by the college, and the eventual wind up of the company by the court in September 2011.
The Insolvency Service determined that the four directors had failed to ensure that the company complied with funding guidance and that adequate documentation had been maintained and/or supplied to colleges to support the funding claims made.
This made the company liable to repay funding totalling a minimum of £3,442,809.
Ken Beasley, official receiver of public interest unit (Manchester) of the Insolvency Service, said: “This company received millions of pounds in government funding but failed to provide sufficient evidence to support claims for funding or to demonstrate that the company has complied with funding guidance which was readily available to them.
“The various failures of the four director constitute behaviour that falls far below that expected of responsible directors of a limited company.”