HEARTS are considering legal action against Scottish Television after the broadcaster claimed on its website that staff at Tynecastle had been told that the club could go into administration.
Hearts “vehemently refuted” that claim in a strongly worded statement on their own website, and suggested the story was an attempt to “destabilise” the club.
“There has been no staff meeting,” a club spokesman said. “Staff have not been informed the club could go into administration. As far as the club is concerned, this story is lacking in any foundation.”
A member of Hearts staff went further on his Twitter account, saying the STV story was “utter, unadulterated horses***”.
Hearts’ official statement was more temperately worded, but emphasised the worry caused to staff and their families by such stories. “Heart of Midlothian FC vehemently refutes media claims that its staff were told at a meeting today that the club could go into administration,” it read. “The report on the Scottish Television website lacks any sort of foundation and is misleading in the extreme. The club can categorically state there was no such meeting and no such message imparted to staff. Such erroneous stories cause distress not only to our staff but their families and the club will be taking the strongest action possible against the responsible parties.”
The website continued by quoting a club spokesperson. “We are sickened and disgusted by such unsubstantiated content,” the spokesperson said. “Articles such as this which have no factual basis, show a complete ignorance of the facts and reflect very badly on the profession of journalism. It is a straightforward shameless act to destabilise the club and we will consider applying for legal advice to seek justice and damages for the business.”
The report, posted on the STV website just after 2.30pm yesterday, claimed “Hearts staff have been told the club could go into administration”. The report was later amended to include details of Hearts’ riposte.
Earlier, Hearts director Sergejus Fedotovas had issued a statement to say nothing had changed at the head of the club. It emerged on Monday that Fedotovas and Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov had resigned from Ubig, Hearts’ parent company. “Despite recent changes to the board at Ubig, the board structure at Heart of Midlothian remains unchanged,” he said. “The information that Mr Vladimir Romanov has relinquished his control of Hearts is pure speculation and we do not have any information to that effect. Changes at Ubig board do not reflect any changes in the holding structure of Mr Romanov’s ownership.
“I would like to reassure supporters of the club that the board of Hearts’ focus is entirely on this club and continuing the work that has allowed us to be within touching distance of having a self-sustainable business. This then allows us to truly develop the club both on and off the field in the seasons ahead. It is a work in progress at the moment but we are satisfied with the progress being made.
“It is also right to acknowledge that one of the principle reasons for us being unaffected at this stage by events in Lithuania is the excellent support that the fans and staff have provided to the club. With this continued support and ongoing diligence by the club’s board of directors we believe that there is no threat to Hearts.”
By “events in Lithuania”, Fedotovas was referring to the fate of Ukio Bankas, which went into administration last month. Another Lithuanian firm, Siauliu Bankas, has taken over the ‘good’ parts of Ukio, while the administrator appointed by the Lithuanian authorities is expected to retain control of the ‘bad’ parts.