Sports Direct has appointed former EU commissioner Charles McCreevy as non-executive director as it plots its European expansion.

McCreevy – former minister for finance as well as minister for tourism and trade in his homeland of Ireland – was most recently EU commissioner for internal markets and services.

Sports Direct non-executive chairman Keith Hellawell said McCreevy’s experience in business and as European Commissioner would be a “great asset to Sports Direct as the company continues to execute its strategic growth plans”.

The appointment comes as Sports Direct ramps up its assault on the European sportswear retail market. The retailer, which currently operates in eight European countries, is opening its first French store this month. It aims to enter all eurozone countries in the next five years.