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Hearts ‘could face liquidation if no deal soon’

Tynecastle Stadium. Picture: TSPL

Tynecastle Stadium. Picture: TSPL

  • by CLAIRE GARDNER
 

HEART of Midlothian Football Club could face liquidation if a deal to take them out of administration is not agreed in the next few weeks, according to Foundation of Hearts chairman Ian Murray MP.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Murray warned that administrators BDO only have enough money to keep the Tynecastle club running until the end of April.

The next big creditors’ meeting is due to take place on 7 April and even if agreement is reached, a 20-day period has to pass before a deal can be concluded.

Mr Murray warned that the future of the club depends on a deal being made.

“If the 7 April meeting either doesn’t take place or isn’t very positive, then I think everyone has known for some time that liquidation is a possibility,” Murray told BBC Scotland.

Administrators BDO are waiting for UBIG’s 50 per cent shareholding to be transferred to the fans’ group Foundation of Hearts, for a fee of around £2.5m.

However, creditors of the Lithuania-based company have yet to ratify the proposal.

Businesswoman Ann Budge is offering to buy the shares on behalf of the Foundation, with the long-term aim of handing over control at Tynecastle to supporters, but one of UBIG’s main creditors, Sualiu Bank, is unhappy with the terms.

Mr Murray added: “The pressure is on them (UBIG’s administrators) to get this deal done. A liquidation event gives them nothing. The deal from FoH has been on the table for nearly eight months.

“We are all worried. We want to get this over the line. It’s been going on too long now and the information coming out of Lithuania is inconsistent or incomplete.

“We just have to wait out this process. There is nothing we can do about it.”

Ahead of the meeting, BDO’s Bryan Jackson will travel to Vilnius to meet lawyers handling UBIG’s liquidation and also hold talks with David Hunt, the UK ambassador to Lithuania, who has offered his assistance.

The majority of the £2.5m would go to Ukio Bankas, which has a 28.79 per cent stake in the club and holds a charge on Tynecastle Stadium.

 

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