JD Sports is bracing itself for a possible shareholder revolt after paying bonuses to senior staff such as Peter Cowgill despite refusing to refund millions in government support.

A report by shareholder advisory service Glass Lewis recommended that shareholders vote against JD Sports’ “inappropriate” pay policy and oppose Cowgill’s reappointment due to inadequate succession planning and a lack of progress on boardroom gender diversity, according to The Sunday Times

Despite taking a much touted 75% pay cut at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, Cowgill was still paid £4.3m in bonuses last year - £3m of which was a deferred bonus from a 2019 special bonus, approved by shareholders in July 2019. All in Cowgill took home around £5m last year. 

This despite the fact that JD Sports claimed more than £61m from the furlough scheme and benefited from around £38m from business rates relief. 

It also applied for £300m from the Bank of England’s emergency liquidity fund, but never used the money. 

At its latest results, JD Sports reported pre-tax profits of £324m, well ahead of expectations, benefitting from an increased focus in online with stores closed for much of the year due to Covid. 

The retailer is due to hold its AGM on July 1.