Sports Direct International auditor Grant Thornton is to resign its role, according to The Financial Times. The newspaper claims the firm has informed the Financial Reporting Council of its decision to leave after the retailer’s AGM in September. None of the parties has commented publicly on the report.

Meanwhile, Sports Direct has issued a detailed statement regarding the timeline of the debacle over the Belgian tax bill that derailed its results presentation.

The company said: “The Notice was brought to Sports Direct's UK management's attention at approximately 12 noon on 25 July 2019. It referred to VAT, Penalties and Interest but provided no detail on how these figures had been arrived at or to what they related. It was therefore impossible for Sports Direct to interpret the reasoning behind the Notice at that stage.

“Within 15 minutes of receipt, the Notice had been sent to one of our UK lawyers, RPC, and from RPC to Laga, the legal affiliate of Deloitte in Belgium. Laga support the Sports Direct group with this matter in Belgium.

“A more detailed, 31 page, 'proces verbal', explaining the detail behind the Notice was received late on Thursday 25 July by Laga. A copy was sent to Sports Direct's UK management at approximately 11pm on 25 July 2019.

“Sports Direct informed the Grant Thornton audit partner of this matter once the 'proces verbal' had been received late on 25 July 2019.

“It was then necessary for Grant Thornton to satisfy themselves of Sports Direct's management's assessment of this matter before the audit could be completed.”

The company has reiterated its assessment of ‘the likelihood of the amounts referred to in the Notice being payable as not probable and accordingly believes that there is no requirement for a material provision or accrual to be made’.