Goals Soccer Centres warns 2019 results will also be hit amid accounting blunder

Troubled five-a-side football pitch business Goals Soccer Centres has warned over results for both 2018 and 2019 as an accounting blunder continues to wreak havoc at the firm.

The group confirmed previous expectations for 2018 figures to be hit by the VAT misdeclaration, but added that new accounting policies will also mean the current year’s results are set to be “materially” lower than expected.

It said investigations into the blunder are ongoing and it may not be able to complete its 2018 audit by the June 30 deadline, but aims to complete the work “as soon as possible”.

Goals remains in talks with HMRC over resolving the matter and to establish a final value.

Shares in the firm will remain suspended until there is further clarity on its potential liability and 2018’s accounts are published.

Goals said: “The board can now also confirm that following extensive forecasting work on the financial year ending December 31 2019, in which a number of new accounting policies, corrected accounting treatments and revised VAT assumptions have been adopted, it expects the financial year ending December 31 2019 also to be materially below prior expectations and historically reported financial performance.”

It gave assurances that talks with lenders “remain positive” and added that current trading has continued to be strong in the UK and US.

Goals said in late March the accounting errors were so far estimated at £12 million, with the issue dating back several years.

It had warned in early March over a material hit to 2018 profits after uncovering the accounting errors as part of a business review.

It delayed the publication of its full-year results, which had been due on March 12. The news sent shares crashing on the day.

It has also since been dealt a blow with news that boss Andy Anson plans to quit after a year to become the new chief executive of the British Olympic Association.

His departure date has not been announced but he has committed to remain on the company’s board for the next six months to assist in resolving its accounting issues.

The accounting error marks the latest knock for the company, in which Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley holds a significant stake.

In January, Goals warned that profits would be lower after a revamp of its offering resulted in higher costs.

It also bemoaned slower than anticipated growth in the US, where the company has four sites, as well as economic and political uncertainty.