GOALS Soccer Centres, the five-a-side football pitch operator at the centre of an accounting investigation, has moved to put itself up for sale.

The company has enlisted Deloitte to run the sales process, and it 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.

Shares in the business have been suspended since March.

The East Kilbride-based company said “there is no certainty as to the timetable or outcome of this process” and that it will update shareholders, including Sports Direct, which owns 19 per cent.

Historical accounting mistakes, which are estimated to be worth £12 million, are currently being examined and the listing of the company’s shares on the Alternative Investment Market is expected to end.

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Goals said: “The company confirms it has today commenced a process to invite offers for the business and assets of the company.

“This process is being conducted by Deloitte LLP, and follows their previous appointment as advisors to assess future corporate options for the company, announced on June 18, 2019.

“There is no certainty as to the timetable or outcome of this process. Shareholders will continue to be kept informed of developments as appropriate.”

Its 2018 audit has been suspended “until further clarification on the historical financial statements has been obtained”.

The firm said in March that the accounting discoveries may lead to a material change in its overall financial position.

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However, the company said earlier this month that year-to-date sales across its 45 UK sites are up 11.5% on a gross like-for-like basis. Despite the accounting problems, Goals sought to assure investors that recent trading had continued to be strong in the US also, up 14.5%.

Details of the extent of the accounting mistake emerged earlier in the years as it signalled the hit to 2018 results after it had uncovered the accounting errors as part of a business review.

The news sent shares crashing with the unscheduled statement putting prices into a 32% freefall, instantly wiping £13.5m from the company's stock market value.

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The firm, which employs 700, had a market value of £20.5m when it suspended its shares.

It came shortly before Goals was due to report its results for the year ended December 31 on March 12.

The firm suffered another blow in May when Andy Anson, its chief executive of a year, announced he was to leave to head the British Olympic Association.

Goals said at the time that it was disappointed by the move but added that former Disney and Manchester United executive Mr Anson had committed to remaining on the company's board for six months.

It said in its statement in early August: "A key criteria for the resumption of trading in the ordinary shares of the company is the completion and publication by September 30 of the full year 2018 audited financial statements.

"The directors do not now believe this timeframe for the audit is achievable."