Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct has condemned Goals Soccer Centres, accusing its management of wiping out shareholders through “skulduggery”.
Sports Direct has had its own share of troubles in recent months, such as ongoing difficulty in securing an auditor and a last-minute £600 million tax bill from Belgian authorities which delayed its most recent set of results.
Mike Ashley’s retail firm hit out at the five-a-side-football pitch operator, two days after confirming he had no intention to buy the business.
The retail tycoon said Goals and its board “did not truly engage” with the offer process, describing their co-operation as “limited and fitful”.
Sports Direct, which is Goals’ largest shareholder, had been mulling a £4 million swoop for Goals.
The retail giant denied reports that Goals said it provided Sports Direct with all the information needed.
In the statement, Sports Direct said: “From the beginning, the attitude of the Goals board made no sense, including proclamations to senior management of Sports Direct that the issues impacting on, and leading to the catastrophic failure of, the business had only been perpetuated by one person.
“Yet again, the independent shareholders of a UK-listed company get wiped out through the skulduggery of others.
“As these constant corporate failures show, the current rules and regulations do not do enough to protect independent shareholders or to prevent fiscal irresponsibility.”
Sports Direct described the behaviour of Goals’ board as “incredible incompetence and ignorance, wilful or otherwise, at the very least and potentially far worse”.
The sports venue business hit trouble in March when its shares were suspended after it revealed £12 million of accounting errors.
The company admitted “improper behaviour” and was delisted from the AIM stock market in September.
Mr Ashley considered adding Goals to his list of recent acquisitions which includes Evans Cycles, Jack Wills and Sofa.com.
Newcastle United refute claims they approached Jaap Stam to become their new manager.
The former Manchester United defender succeeded Giovanni van Bronckhorst as manager of Feyenoord this summer but he told Voetbal International that Newcastle approached him just days later.
He said: “You have been informed, because it is correct. Newcastle United applied a few days after I signed my signature at Feyenoord. So it was not an option right away. “
Hull City star Jarrod Bowen has suggested that he would be open to leaving the Championship club amidst links to Newcastle United.
The 22-year-old’s contract is up in the summer, and he is someone that United have held a strong interest in over the last 12 months.