GOALS Soccer Centres, the five-a-side football pitch operator, has said its work on historic accounting policies and practices has shown “improper behaviour” within the company.

The East Kilbride-based firm said this involved a “number of individuals for a period since at least 2010”. It comes as historical accounting mistakes, which are estimated to be worth £12 million, are being examined.

Directors believe its planned timescale for audit is “not now achievable” and the listing of the company’s shares on the Alternative Investment Market is expected to cease.

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Its 2018 audit has been suspended “until further clarification on the historic financial statements has been obtained”, Goals said in a statement to the London Stock Exchange.

The firm suspended its shares, of which Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct owns 18.9 per cent, in March.

Goals said: “The company regrets to announce that, following ongoing detailed investigatory work into the historic accounting policies and practices used by the company in the recognition of revenue and the preparation of financial statements, it has become very recently evident that there has been improper behaviour within the company.

"This has involved a number of individuals for a period since at least 2010."

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It said: "Due to these initial findings, there is material uncertainty in relation to the historic financial statements published by the company.

“The directors do not now believe this timeframe for the audit is achievable and, coupled with the findings above, no longer expect the ordinary shares in the company to resume trading.”

Year-to-date sales across its 45 UK sites are up 11.5% on a gross like-for-like basis. US sales are up 14.5%.