Sports Direct confirms £120 million headquarters sale and leaseback deal


LONDON (Reuters) – Sports Direct, the sportswear retailer owned by billionaire Mike Ashley, confirmed the sale of the freehold to its Shirebrook logistics centre to Kwasa Logix Sportivo for just over 120 million pounds in cash on Tuesday.

Sports Direct, which will take a 15-year lease on the property, said the proceeds would be used for group operations and to boost its working capital.

The Sunday Times said the buyer was owned by Malaysia’s Employees Provident Fund.

Fury fights Wallin on 14 September in Las Vegas
Fury fights Wallin on 14 September in Las Vegas

Otto Wallin believes he is at elite heavyweight level and insists he is not bothered by criticism of his ability as he prepares to fight Tyson Fury.

“I don’t care too much,” Wallin told BBC Sport. “He probably means I haven’t been at that elite level.”

He added: “I haven’t been at the elite level in fights but I have sparred big names and know I am at their level – Anthony Joshua, Kubrat Pulev, Adam Kownacki, Jarrell Miller, all different guys, and I know I am on this level.

“I am not worried about that, it’s just that people haven’t seen. Anthony knows I am a good fighter. Yes, it helps a little with motivation. I have no pressure at all – I can only go in there and do my best.”

In addition to sparring Joshua, Wallin faced the former unified heavyweight champion of the world as an amateur, losing via decision twice.

Fury, 31, will start as around 1-25 favourite for their T-Mobile Arena bout despite Wallin being unbeaten in 20 professional contests.

It will be Wallin’s first visit to Las Vegas, where Fury pummelled Germany’s Tom Schwarz to a second-round stoppage in June to extend his record to 28 wins and one draw.

Wallin is diligently preparing for the contest in a private New York gym but he has been marked by some as a low-risk stepping stone for Fury given the Briton has a rematch with WBC world heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in place for 2020.

“This is the moment I have been dreaming of since I started boxing when I was 15,” Wallin added. “I have been preparing for this. Now it’s just I am fighting the best I have ever faced.

“I am fighting probably the best heavyweight out there, at least the best boxer. He is a big guy, uses his size well. He is very skilled and can do a lot of things in there. He is tricky and has beaten good fighters but there are some things that people haven’t done to him.

“I am really confident in myself and my work ethic. I have worked for a long time and dreamed of this moment. Now it is finally here and I have to try and grab it with both hands.”

Sheffield United scored a dramatic late equaliser to salvage a point against Manchester United

Chris Wilder
Chris Wilder’s Sheffield United side are sixth in the Premier League

Sheffield United scored a dramatic late equaliser to salvage a point against Manchester United, after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side had recovered from two goals down to lead at Bramall Lane.

Oliver McBurnie’s 90th-minute strike was awarded following a nervous wait as the video assistant referee reviewed the goal for a potential handball as the forward controlled Callum Robinson’s cross.

Three goals in a blistering seven minutes appeared to have rescued Solskjaer’s largely lacklustre side, who looked all but beaten after Lys Mousset added to John Fleck’s opener for Chris Wilder’s side seven minutes after the interval.

But 19-year-old left-back Brandon Williams’ goal after 72 minutes sparked the visitors into life, before substitute Mason Greenwood levelled and Marcus Rashford sent the visitors ahead.

That was not enough to see off a resilient Sheffield United, however, with Manchester United ninth in the standings after McBurnie’s late equaliser.

In a remarkable game, the Blades dominated their opponents for long periods and looked set for a first league win over Manchester United since 1992.

David de Gea had already produced fine saves to keep out John Lundstram and David McGoldrick when Mousset robbed Phil Jones in the build-up to the opener.

Mousset teed up Lundstram – whose shot was saved by De Gea before Fleck bundled home the rebound.

It went from bad to worse for Solskjaer’s side as Mousset beat De Gea with a sumptuous drilled finish from outside the penalty area.

However, the visitors turned the game on its head, as Williams produced a clever first-time finish before Greenwood scored from close range.

England forward Rashford thought he had won it 11 minutes from time after rounding off a fine move by tucking home from eight yards, only for McBurnie to level – after a lengthy check by the video assistant referee to see if the Scotland striker had handled before scoring.

Uncomfortable afternoon for Solskjaer

Manchester United had won five of their previous six games in all competitions to leave manager Solskjaer optimistic about the future after a difficult start to the season.

Yet this was an uncomfortable watch for long spells as his players were bullied by the newly promoted Blades – days after Mauricio Pochettino, linked with a move to Old Trafford last season, became available after being sacked by Tottenham Hotspur.

Despite their late comeback, United have won just one of their past 11 Premier League away games. They have also failed to keep a clean sheet in their past 12 top-flight away games, their worst streak since a run of 15 in 1985-86.

With more points dropped, Manchester United sit nine points adrift of the top four Champions League qualification spots.

They managed just one shot on target during a woeful first-half showing – Anthony Martial testing goalkeeper Simon Moore, who was making his first Premier League start, in the 29th minute.

Their second shot on target started the comeback – Williams’ shot nestling in the corner before Greenwood’s equaliser after good work by Rashford, who converted the third from Daniel James’ cut-back.

Spirited Blades battle to the end

Wilder did not know whether to laugh or cry at the final whistle after a game which provoked an incredible roller-coaster of emotions.

Despite missing first-choice keeper Dean Henderson – on loan from Manchester United and ineligible to play against them – as well as ever-present defender John Egan, the Blades turned on the style.

Mousset is proving one of the bargain buys of the season. Since joining from Bournemouth for £10m in the summer, the French forward has four Premier League goals and three assists.

He was heavily involved in his side’s first before producing a sublime finish to double the lead.

Wilder will be concerned at the way his defence capitulated but Sheffield United’s never-say-die spirit was once again evident.