Whelan's role at JJB will be slightly reduced, but he intends to maintain his day-to-day contacts and duties. The responsibilities he will relinquish will be those more directly related to his former position as chairman of the company.
Whelan wants to devote more time to his role as chairman of newly promoted Premiership football club Wigan Athletic.
Roger Lane-Smith has been appointed non-executive chairman.
JJB's total turnover, including health clubs, for the 22 weeks ended July 3 was 8.9 per cent lower than the comparative period last year and included a 9.4 per cent fall in like-for-like sales.
However, the company said the figures were affected by bumper sales of football replica merchandise generated by the Euro 2004 football tournament during May and June last year. If sales of replica merchandise are taken out of the total turnover figure, the
fall is 6.1 per cent.
'The back-to-school period, occurring at the start of the football season, will be an important time for us, as will the Christmas season,' said Whelan. 'I do not anticipate any material improvement in retail trading conditions before next spring, which I hope will be followed by a successful campaign during the 2006 World Cup.'