NEWCASTLE United today hit back at a TV programme about the relationship between the club and owner Mike Ashley’s sportswear firm Sports Direct.
Channel 4’s Dispatches programme broadcast an hour-long special on the company which included references to its retail relationship with United – as well as the companies’ working practices.
100 per cent of the income from goods bought in the club’s official stores and on its website are received by the club and not Sports Direct, as the ‘Dispatches’ programme claimed.Newcastle United
The club, which claimed it was not contacted to comment on the programme, today issued a full statement in which it criticised a claim it described as “wholly inaccurate”.
Official club website www.nufc.co.uk was the first to publish the statement, in an article headlined ‘Inaccurate media reporting by Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’.
It read: “In reference to our statement last night (Monday, 27th April) regarding the Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ programme, The Secrets of Sports Direct, Newcastle United would like to clarify the facts for the benefit of supporters.
“Last night’s programme made a wholly inaccurate claim regarding the retail relationship between the Club and Sports Direct.
“In the club’s view, the broadcaster deliberately misled Newcastle United supporters and provided yet another example of erroneous media reporting which only serves to further antagonise fans.
“In January 2014, in the minutes of its Fans Forum which are published online, the club confirmed how the retail relationship with Sports Direct works.
“For the purpose of clarity, we can reconfirm that 100 per cent of the income from goods bought in the club’s official stores and on its website are received by the club and not Sports Direct, as the ‘Dispatches’ programme claimed.
“The only money paid by the club to Sports Direct is for the stock (at cost price), plus a handling fee.
“This represents far better value than the costs the club historically incurred in relation to purchasing, storage and distribution.
“In fact, the change to our retail operating structure introduced in February 2013, which saw us partner with Sports Direct, increased the profit margin by over 50 per cent. This benefits the club hugely.
“In simple terms, the Club receives more money as a result of this relationship.
“Channel 4 failed to contact the club in order to clarify any facts in relation to our retail operation.
“Given that this information was already in the public domain, and had been for over 15 months, we find it incredible that the makers of an investigative current affairs programme chose to air information which was so obviously factually incorrect.”