Mike Ashley has come up against yet more criticism from the City – this time from the Association of British Insurers (ABI), which criticised the way Sport’s Direct has been run since its float.

ABI’s director of investment affairs Peter Montagnon said yesterday that the retailer’s plummeting share price proved the need for better corporate governance. “There is a link between governance and the creation of value,” he said.

Pirc, the corporate governance advisory board, has also slammed the retailer for asking investors for the right to step up its share buy-back programme. Last night, it recommended that shareholders should abstain when Sports Direct puts through the motion in its extraordinary general meeting to be held on December 19.

Analysts have continually criticised the way Ashley has provided scarce information in trading updates. The retailer has still not been able to secure a non-executive chairman following the exit of David Richardson in May.