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Mike Ashley bows out of Sports Direct profit-share scheme

Mike Ashley
Credit: PA

Mike Ashley has bowed out of a controversial profit-share scheme which could see 3,000 permanent staff receive a piece of £200m if profits double in 2019.

The scheme recently came under fire from investors groups and the Institute of Directors who were planning to vote against Chairman Keith Hellawell and other board members because they were unhappy with the arrangement.

In a statement on the Sport's Direct website today the company confirms that despite approval from a panel of independent shareholders that he could receive a payout he has - after discussions with the board - decided to refuse his payout.

Keith Hellawell, Non-Executive Chairman of Sports Direct International plc, said:

"The resolution passed by shareholders to implement the 2015 Bonus Share Scheme clearly recognises the success of previous company-wide schemes, and the significant contribution from Mike.

"On behalf of the entire Board, I should like to thank shareholders for the trust and confidence that they have demonstrated towards the team.

"Mike remains fully committed to achieving the scheme's stretch targets. Regarding the allocation of shares, Mike's focus is on ensuring that the scheme aligns all employees to achieve the Company's objectives.

"Following recent unhelpful speculation surrounding his potential allocation, he is determined to ensure that there is the maximum number of shares available for the eligible employees."

Mike Ashley has not received a salary or any bonus since Sports Direct was floated in 2007 when he received £929m.

Supporters group seeks clarity over St James' Park lease

St James' Park, Newcastle Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/Press Association Images

A Newcastle United fans group is seeking further clarity over the club's alleged plans to sell a lease on land next to St James' Park.

The 125-year lease, on land opposite the Gallogate end, was purchased from Nexus in 1998 under the Sir John Hall and Freddie Shepherd regime for potential ground expansion in the future.

Newcastle United Supporters Trust says the club's current owner, Mike Ashley, is attempting to privately sell the lease. It's understood the land could then be developed for either a hotel or student accommodation.

NUST Chairman, Norman Watson, has written to Newcastle City Council to request further details under the Freedom of Information Act.

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Profits boost for Mike Ashley's Sports Direct

Sports Direct, which is owned by Mike Ashley, has announced that its profits are rising. They were up by 14.6% in the 13 weeks ending on 26 January 2014, totalling £280.7 million.

Here are some of the key figures in more detail:

  • Sales for the 13 weeks ending 26 January 2014 were up 11.2% to £655.4m
  • Sports Retail sales in the 13 week period increased 6.9% to £529.9m
  • Premium Lifestyle sales in the period were up 52.5% to £71.2m
  • The Brands division revenue increased by 15.5% to £54.3m

“Despite tougher comparisons during the period, Sports Retail continues to perform well driven by our on-going focus on exceptional quality, unbeatable value and availability. Online also performed strongly with non-UK online gross profit contribution expected to be greater than the UK equivalent by the end of this financial year."

– Dave Forsey, Chief Executive of Sports Direct International plc

The company will release their preliminary results on 17 July 2014.

Premier League boss asked to intervene in NUFC media ban

The chief executive of the Premier League, Richard Scudamore, has been urged to act as a mediator between Newcastle United and three local newspapers, who have been banned from all the club's media events.

Richard Scudamore
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Scudamore has not entered the row between local newspapers and Newcastle United Credit: Chris Ison/PA Archive

Journalists from the Journal, Chronicle and Sunday Sun were told they were not welcome at press conferences at St James' Park. Manager Alan Pardew was even stopped from answering their questions after the weekend's derby away at Sunderland. The club is unhappy with what it feels is unfair coverage.

Watch more: Journalists banned from Newcastle United

Anger as Journalists banned from Newcastle United: Full Report

by Kenny Toal

Politicians and Unions are urging Newcastle United to think again about its decision to ban journalists from three regional newspapers from future media events at St James' Park.

Today Alan Pardew stood by the decision saying that it was up to the editors of the Newcastle Evening Chronicle, the Journal and the Sunday Sun to respond.

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Twitter reacts to NUFC banning NCJ journalists

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Seriously, what a region we live in. Proud & humbled by reaction to Ashley's bully boy tactics with local media. If only he understood, eh?

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Often amazed by #nufc management actions but banning @eveningchron from SJP for coverage anti-Ashley march is... tweets fails me! #wronga

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Hope nufc see sense soon and lift ban on @lee_ryder The chronicle has been around a little longer than mike ashley up there.

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