Goals Soccer Centres puts itself up for sale amid £12m fraud investigations

Goals Soccer Centre has put itself up for sale and enlisted the help of auditorDeloitte. Picture: Goals Soccer Centres
Goals Soccer Centre has put itself up for sale and enlisted the help of auditorDeloitte. Picture: Goals Soccer Centres
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Goals Soccer Centres, the embattled East Kilbride five-a-side football pitch operator at the centre of a £12 million tax fraud investigation, has put itself up for sale.

In a stock market update the company said it had "commenced a process to invite offers for the business and assets of the company".

It added that "there is no certainty as to the timetable or outcome of this process" and that it will update shareholders as and when appropriate.

This includes Mike Ashley's retail group Sports Direct, which owns 19 per cent of the East Kilbride firm.

Goals has enlisted the help of auditor Deloitte to run the sales process, which comes after the company was forced to admit earlier this month that it would not be able to sign off its accounts by the end of September.

Deloitte had been named in June as an adviser to assess future corporate options for the company, which is one of the biggest players of its kind, running about 50 sites in the UK and the US and employing around 700 staff.

Shares in the business, which is listed on London’s junior Alternative Investment Market (Aim), have been suspended since March after accounting and VAT irregularities stretching back years were uncovered.

The firm is reeling from the discovery of “improper behaviour” by senior staff stretching back to “at least” 2010, leaving it with an estimated £12m bill to HM Revenue & Customs.

It has previously confirmed that the behaviour of ex-chief executive Keith Rogers and former chief financial officer Bill Gow while at Goals is part of a company probe into alleged fraud.

In an earlier statement Goals said: “The company can confirm that actions undertaken by Mr Gow and Mr Rogers while employees and directors of the company form part of the current investigations of the company into the mis-statement of historic financial statements.

“The company can confirm no finalised conclusions have yet been reached, although as stated in the 2 August 2019 announcement by the company it is clear inappropriate actions have taken place."

In a blow to shareholders earlier this month, directors said they do not believe the firm can present its 2018 accounts by the required 30 September deadline, which means it will be delisted from the stock market and investors will be wiped out.