Hearts issued with SFA notice of complaint

Tynecastle Stadium, home of Hearts.  Picture: Ian Rutherford
Tynecastle Stadium, home of Hearts. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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HEARTS will discover on 18 July what punishment they are to receive from the Scottish Football Association for entering administration.

A formal notice of complaint from SFA Compliance Officer Vincent Lunny was issued to the Tynecastle club yesterday for their breach of disciplinary rule 14 by suffering an insolvency event. Hearts have until next Monday, 8 July, to respond to the complaint with the hearing date at Hampden set for 18 July. The potential sanctions for being found guilty, which is a formality in this case with Hearts having voluntarily entered administration on 19 June, are the suspension or termination of full membership of the SFA or the imposition of a fine.

Bryan Jackson, of Hearts administrators BDO, has already stated that any monetary sanction handed down by an SFA judicial panel “could be a disaster” in terms of the bid to save the club.

Dunfermline Athletic, also currently in administration, avoided a fine when the SFA heard their case at Hampden in May. The Fifers were instead handed a registration embargo on players over the age of 21 until 31 December this year.

When Rangers went into administration in 2012, they were fined the maximum amount of £50,000 by an SFA judicial panel as part of a range of sanctions imposed on the Ibrox club during that period.

Hearts have already received a 15-point deduction from the Scottish Premier League, to be applied from the start of the new season, as well as being placed under a player registration embargo for as long as they remain in administration.

Jackson is likely to represent Hearts at the SFA hearing later this month when he will be hoping an extension of the player signing ban is the limit of any punishment imposed.

“We are always given a fair hearing,” said Jackson, “so at least they listen to what we have to say and then they have to decide what sanctions, if any. We understand why there have to be sanctions, we understand the rule is there, but it is a real pressure on us in a lot of ways.

“If there are any sanctions that are material in any way, that can be the difference that just puts you over the edge.

“I don’t know any reason why they (the SFA) shouldn’t apply the same fairness to the Hearts situation (as they did to Dunfermline). A monetary sanction could be a disaster. You are in administration, so the cashflow is totally tight.

“The strategy has been to generate enough money from the season ticket sales to keep the doors open, just to get to the CVA. If you put in amount (as a fine) that we can’t pay and which potentially a new owner is going to inherit, can they manage to purchase the shares in the club and take that as an additional debt?”