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Mike Ashley issues a statement over his poor Sports Direct actions

Mike Ashley issues a statement over his poor Sports Direct actions, which saw him try to keep shops open, only to do a U-turn when forced by the government.

The controversial owner of Premier League club Newcastle United owner has apologised for “poor communications” to employees and the public in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

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He faced huge criticism from MPs after he tried to claim Sports Direct was an essential operator for keeping the nation fit, before then having to close his stores.

The Government has told the public they should only go shopping for essential items such as food or medicine in order to stop the spread of the virus.

Here is Mike Ashley’s letter in full:

“Given what has taken place over the last few days, I thought it was necessary to address and apologise for much of what has been reported across various media outlets regarding my personal actions and those of the Frasers Group business.

“Our intentions were only to seek clarity from the Government as to whether we should keep some of our stores open; we would never have acted against their advice. In hindsight, our emails to the Government were ill-judged and poorly timed, when they clearly had much greater pressures than ours to deal with. On top of this, our communications to our employees and the public on this was poor.

“There has been no dress rehearsal for what we as a nation are currently tackling, and I for one am immensely proud of how our Government, our NHS & all of our key workers have handled the situation so far. I would especially like to thank my Frasers Group employees, who have stood by the business in difficult times before and are doing so again currently. We are working very hard to save our business, so that we can continue to be one of the biggest employers on the UK high street once this pandemic has passed.

“Outside of Frasers Group, I have offered our support to the NHS and we are poised and ready for when that offer is accepted, with our entire fleet of lorries at their disposal – to help deliver medical equipment and supplies. This offer is not limited to the NHS but all key workforces across the Government. We will help wherever possible.

“Finally, to reiterate, I am deeply apologetic about the misunderstandings of the last few days. We will learn from this and will try not to make the same mistakes in the future.

“I strongly encourage everyone to follow the Government’s advice, stay safe and healthy through these challenging times, not least my employees.

“Kind Regards, Mike Ashley”


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