Goals Soccer Centres AGM kicks off as Mike Ashley’s coup fails

Heated words were exchanged at the AGM of Goals Soccer Centres, as Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct continued to put pressure on the company but failed to push directors off the board.

Goals director Christopher Mills told a representative of Sports Direct to “f*** off” when asked whether directors would take a lie detector test over a £12 million accounting error.

Liam Rowley, head of strategic investments at Sports Direct, asked for directors to clarify whether they had prior knowledge of the error before it was made known to the market, and claimed a whistleblower had alleged that concerns predated the announcement.

He also asked whether the directors would undergo a lie detector test.

Mr Mills responded that Sports Direct could “f*** off”, and said Mr Rowley’s behaviour was “insulting, rude, and unacceptable”.

He also addressed Mr Rowley as “young man”, prompting the Sports Direct representative to accuse Mr Mills of being patronising.

It came as the results of the annual general meeting (AGM) showed all resolutions had passed, despite Sports Direct voting against the re-election of board members.

In a statement released after the meeting, Goals said: “We are not going to be insulted and bullied by a minority shareholder.

“The executive and non-executive directors are working tirelessly trying to resolve its issues in the best interests of all shareholders.

“We will communicate with all shareholders when the independent specialists complete their work.”

Mr Ashley’s company said last week that it had “lost confidence” in the board of Goals, after they refused to appoint an investigator of Sports Direct’s choice to investigate the error.

Goals has said it has already hired a division of accountancy firm BDO, as well as seeking help from RSM Tenon and a specialist VAT consultant as it attempts to deal with the issue.

In addition, advisers at Deloitte have been appointed to explore potential options for the company.