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Mike Ashley seeks Goals Soccer Centres victory by threatening boardroom coup | Business News

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Mike Ashley has threatened Goals Soccer Centres with a boardroom coup, saying the company has fallen short of his demands for an independent investigation into an accounting blunder.

The retail tycoon’s Sports Direct holds a stake of almost 19% in the five-a-side football pitch operator.

Goals suspended trading in its shares in March over an estimated £12m VAT liability, which remains the subject of negotiations between the company and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Sky News reported on Tuesday how Mr Ashley was threatening to use his voting power to reject all resolutions at the Goals AGM next week unless independent advisers at Kroll were appointed to look into the accounting errors.

Sports Direct said today that it was planning to vote against the reappointment of Goals’ entire board.

Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley
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Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley’s business interests include House of Fraser and Newcastle United

The company said it was not acceptable that a division of Goals’s auditors was carrying out the inquiry – describing the move as leaving a “perceived lack of transparency”.

Goals had said on Wednesday that it was also continuing talks with HMRC while it had separately hired Deloitte to assess future options for the business, which could see the firm sold.

Mr Ashley would be tipped to be a potential bidder – adding to a shopping spree that has included House of Fraser, Evans Cycles and an ongoing bid for Game Digital.

Sports Direct was the largest shareholder in Debenhams ahead of its collapse.

Mr Ashley had sought to take control of the struggling department store chain following a scrap with the board but lost his investment when it fell into the clutches of lenders.

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