Sports Direct's founder and executive deputy chairman Mike Ashley has withdrawn from participation in the sportswear retailer's 2015 bonus share scheme just two weeks after it was backed by the firm's independent shareholders.

The group said that after talks with the board's remuneration committee, Mr Ashley had informed the board he did not wish to be awarded any shares under the new scheme.

The 2015 bonus plan could pay out £200m to an undisclosed number of employees if earnings more than double over the next five years.

The scheme was backed by shareholders following a number of attempts by Sports Direct to reward Mr Ashley, who receives no salary or bonus for his role at the retailer.

There had been some opposition to the plan, however, with the Institute of Directors saying it was unthinkable for a senior executive who was also the company's major shareholder to receive such a bonus. 

In addition to his decision not to participate in the scheme, Mr Ashley also informed the board that while the 2015 bonus share scheme is in place he does not expect any other share based incentive scheme to be proposed to shareholders in relation to his role as an executive director of the firm.

Sports Direct operates as Sports World in Ireland, while Mr Ashley also owns a 50% stake in Heatons.