Mike Ashley makes Newcastle United revelation in legal claim

Mike Ashley’s Sports Direct didn’t pay for advertising at St James’s Park for the three seasons, according to court documents.

Tuesday, 21st June 2022, 10:05 am

The club’s former owner claims that the terms of the loan, which was to cover legal and other costs, were breached when Staveley said she was “looking forward” to having Sports Direct signage removed at the stadium.

Speaking after the takeover, Staveley said: "The Sports Direct signs, I'm looking forward to coming down. It's a slight frustration when I go into the stadium and I try and take a picture which doesn't have Sports Direct in it."

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Ashley has submitted an amended claim, which has been seen by The Athletic. The documents confirm that Sportsdirect.com Retail Limited (SRL) paid no sponsorship fees for the 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22 seasons, though the firm did pay a £1million “annual fee” for the two previous campaigns.

“While the sale was being negotiated during the 2019/20 Premier League season, SRL did not pay the sponsorship fees so as not to increase the cash position balance sheet outside of the pending sale agreement,” the document reads.

In the amended claim, Ashley also admits to having received a £17.5million loan repayment ahead of the £305million sale to a consortium led by Staveley. Ashley was owed £106.9million on June 30 last year. The club is now 80%-owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund.

Former Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley.

Ghodoussi has previously pledged to contest the claim “vigorously”.

Sports Direct logos at St James's Park.