Hillsborough leak not malicious, claims Preston chairman Ridsdale

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The Professional Footballers’ Association does not believe any of Preston’s players deliberately intended to undermine their team when leaking information to Sheffield Wednesday ahead of Saturday’s League One game.

North End were beaten by two goals from Gary Madine at Hillsborough on Saturday lunchtime and furious manager Graham Westley immediately accused four players of informing the Wednesday camp of their intended team and tactics in his post-match press conference.

The Lancashire club’s chairman Peter Ridsdale has since confirmed tactical information had been divulged, but that it had not been done with any malicious intent.

The PFA’s assistant chief executive John Bramhall said: “We’ve spoken with one of the players already and a couple have commented on Twitter that they could not believe any of their team-mates would deliberately jeopardise their team’s chances.

“The chairman has since said information was given, but that there was no intention to undermine their team-mates and that it was not malicious.

“He accepts that and we would support that – that the information has been inadvertently leaked.”

Ridsdale, who appointed Westley in January, has backed the manager’s claims but insisted the actions were not malicious.

“What Graham said after the game on Saturday was true,” said former Leeds chairman Ridsdale.

“I’m aware categorically where the information came from, although I don’t think it was done maliciously.

“It’s unfortunate that it happened, but it’s time to draw a line under it and move on in order to focus on our game against MK Dons on Saturday.”