Goals Soccer Centres says accounts crisis stretches back to 2010

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Goals Soccer Centres , which runs outdoor football centres in the UK, has uncovered “improper behaviour” in the preparation of its financial accounts stretching back to 2010 “at least”.

The firm has blamed “a number of individuals” for the behaviour.

Following the revelations, the company’s shares are set to be kicked off the stock exchange.

The news will be a blow for Sports Direct boss Mike Ashley, who owns a 19% stake in the firm.

Goals said that, as the issues with the accounts stretch back nearly a decade, there was “material uncertainty” surrounding its historical financial statements.

Deadline missed

Dealing in the firm’s shares was suspended in March when Goals revealed that “substantial” VAT errors were likely to cost it £12m.

At the time, it said the blunder “may have an impact on future profitability”, and it delayed the publication of its financial results for last year as it worked to revise them.

It had until the end of September to release those results but now it expects to miss that deadline.

“The directors do not now believe this timeframe for the audit is achievable,” the firm told shareholders.

As a result Goals no longer expects its shares to resume trading. The listing of its shares on the AIM market is “expected to cease and cancellation will be effective from 30 September 2019”.

Goals, which has 45 pitches in the UK, said conversations were continuing with HMRC over its tax bill but revealed there had been “no material developments” in those talks.

Nevertheless, it said UK sales had increased over 11% so far this year. They were up almost 15% in the US where it runs sites in California.

In January, the East Kilbride-based firm warned on profits after it said that selling food and drink, and offering children’s birthday parties, had increased costs as it had to hire more staff.

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