Hearts chief Vladimir Romanov may keep Tynecastle and lease it back to new owner

VLADIMIR ROMANOV is considering keeping Tynecastle Stadium and leasing it back to Hearts when he agrees to sell his majority shareholding in the club.

A debt repayment plan may also feature in any deal with a new owner as Romanov and his Ukio Bankas Investment Group plan their exit strategy.

Hearts director Sergejus Fedotovas, who works closely with Romanov in Lithuania, revealed today in an interview with the Evening News that UBIG could retain ownership of Tynecastle and lease it to the club each year. Repayment of Hearts’ debt – £24million when the last accounts were released – may also feature heavily as part of a takeover.

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Romanov and his associates are willing to discuss selling Hearts although they are reluctant to name their price outright. So far, Alex Mackie’s Foundation of Hearts have had three different bids rejected, whilst the Italian businessman Angelo Massone has also been rebuffed with a £4.5m offer.

In a question and answer interview published inside, Fedotovas outlined some of the conditions of sale being considered by Romanov and UBIG.

“Apart from the terms acceptable to current owners, the buyer will need to demonstrate he is a fit person to run the club and he has a realistic plan for running the club successfully,” said Fedotovas. “The current owners did not highlight preferences of any deal, so a reasonable proposal will have a way forward given it reflects the value of the club and is acceptable in principle.

“As a possible option, the club may be sold and the stadium may remain in ownership of UBIG and leased to the club. This way, the value of the deal for the football club only will be reduced and debt repayment will be linked to the stadium.”