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Goals Soccer rejects Sports Direct’s request for another investigation into tax cock-up

Goals has already brought in experts to look at how it ended up owing £12mln to the taxman, but Sports Direct wanted it to consent to another, independent investigation

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Sports Direct owns just under 19% of Goals’ shares

Goals Soccer Centres PLC (LON:GOAL) has no intention of hiring any more advisors to look into its tax problems, in a move that is likely to irk major shareholder Sports Direct  International PLC (LON:SPD).

The five-a-side football pitches group was plunged into crisis back in March after discovering it owed more than £12mln in unpaid value added tax (VAT).

READ: Goals issues profit warning as accounting fiasco drags on

Its shares have been suspended ever since, and chief executive Andy Anson said last month he would be leaving the company to become the head of the British Olympic Association.

Goals has already appointed forensic accountants to run the rule over its books following the scandal, while consultancy group Deloitte is set to be brought in shortly to carry out an internal investigation.

But Sports Direct sent a strongly worded letter to Goals’ board earlier this week, asking it to consent to hiring corporate investigator Kroll to carry out an independent review.

Goals has now responded publicly to the request, stating that it “believes it does not need to appoint further advisors at this time”.

Further action?

The decision is likely to rile Mike Ashley and his team, who had threatened further action against Goals’ directors, including possibly voting against their reappointments, if they ignored the demand.

In the letter, seen by Sky News, Sports Direct said: “The Sports Direct position as regards any subsequent action against members of the board as a result of the decisions taken or indeed actions or omissions during the course of their tenure is entirely reserved.”

Goals has moved to allay fears that the results of its internal investigation won’t be made public.

In today’s stock exchange announcement, the AIM company said: “[Goals] is committed to making announcements for all shareholders in due course as the results of its investigation become known.”

That will help to soothe Ashley’s concerns that Christopher Mills, another major shareholder and one of Goals’ non-executive directors, would be “privy to information which the others are not”.

Quick facts: Goals Soccer

Price: 27.2 GBX

AIM:GOAL
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Market Cap: £20.46 m
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