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Sports Direct to oppose Goals Soccer Centres board reappointment

By Frank Prenesti

Date: Friday 21 Jun 2019

(Sharecast News) - Sports Direct said it would move to axe the entire board at Goals Soccer Centres over the football pitch operator's refusal to allow it to hire corporate investigator Kroll to look into a range of accounting issues at the troubled firm.
Mike-Ashley-owned Sports Direct holds a 19% in Goals, which in March discovered it owed more than £12m in unpaid value added tax (VAT). Its shares have been suspended and the company, which runs 46 centres in the UK and four in California, could be forced to raise new cash to survive or be put up for sale.

Sports Direct on Friday said it understood that Goals had not appointed independent advisers to examine the tax issue and help in talks with the government tax office.

"Sports Direct understands that these advisers are a division of the company's auditors," Sports Direct said in a statement on Friday, adding that it would oppose the board's reappointment at it annual meeting on June 28 "in light of the perceived lack of transparency by the Goals Board and the resulting loss of confidence Sports Direct has in the board as a whole".

"Sports Direct's request for the appointment of Kroll to do an independent and cradle to grave report was not a request for the board to appoint Kroll, it was a request for the board to allow the investigation to take place, with all of the costs incurred in connection with the Kroll report being borne by Sports Direct," it added.

The unexpected VAT bill came to light when BDO took over as auditor of Goals from KPMG last June. In a statement on Tuesday, Goals said it was engaging Deloitte to work alongside its current advisers and lenders in assessing its future corporate options.

Last month it appointed forensic accountants to examine its finances, including how it recognised revenues. It also warned over its results for both 2018 and 2019, and said it may not be able to complete its 2018 audit by its June 30 deadline.


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