Letters: Hearts’ embargo appeal must be rejected

I HOPE the board of directors at Inverness Caledonian Thistle are paying close attention to Hearts’ attempts to have their signing embargo lifted.

Gary Locke has voiced his concern about the over-exposure of his players. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Hearts are fully aware that they are already relegated – and can barely cover current costs – but a cup final windfall would be a massive financial boost to them and would likely ensure they could see out the season.

Their primary focus just now is for manager Gary Locke and his assistant, Billy Brown, to constantly bleat in the media about their youngsters having to be played, highlighting apparent health and safety issues, etc. The sole aim of this is to allow them to enhance their lacklustre squad purely for the League Cup semi-final clash against Inverness.

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Readers may remember Hearts signing Craig Beattie outwith the window a few years back despite not being able to pay wages and him scoring the Scottish Cup semi-final winner against Celtic.

Their latest attempt to have the current transfer embargo lifted will go to the SPFL today and will be led by their administrator, BDO, which is fully aware of the precarious nature of their cashflow.

Hearts deserve to be punished for overspending the proceeds of Vladimir Romanov’s financial crime. Wages to turnover ratio exceeded 100 per cent for years and years. More than £25 million of debt remains after forgiving/swapping for equity over £40 million already and businesses and charities are being robbed of millions so their fan ownership can pick them up for a couple of million and start afresh debt free.

So I urge the board of directors at Inverness to make sure their voices are heard in the corridors of the SPFL. That’s if they haven’t already done so.


Church Street


Allow Hearts to pay for players with league points

THE latest plea by Hearts to have the ban on signing players lifted and be allowed to recruit in order to prevent “stress’’ on their youngsters is clearly genuine.

May I offer a possible solution? While no-one wishes to see any young player stressed, I am sure even the most dyed-in-the-wool Hearts fan must appreciate that there has to be justice and that justice needs to be seen to be done. And that teams such as St Mirren, Ross County and others who kept all the financial rules and did not resort to buying and playing players they palpably could not afford in a search for “glory’’ and silverware are not unduly disadvantaged by those who did. All the teams in Scotland agreed to the rules as they are.

Why not therefore allow Hearts to sign up to say four players? A deduction of three points say could be made for each signing. This would relieve the stress about which Hearts officials complain and at the same time placate those who did not break the rules.


New Cut Rigg


Financial regulation a must to avert further chaos

FOLLOWING a recent spate of clubs going into administration in Scotland I am beginning to question the wisdom of punishing the clubs involved.

It seems to me that it only damages the quality of our game when we are already struggling to raise standards. We also punish the fans, not just of the clubs involved but also of the opposition, who see one-sided and poor competition not to mention bigger clubs moving to lower divisions and damaging other smaller clubs’ prospects’ of promotion. In addition to this, very young players lose confidence quickly and may be lost to the game forever through demoralisation.

The really important point here is that those causing the problem disappear and are not punished. I look at the most recent high-profile club in administration, Hearts, and really wonder what is being achieved by dishing out a punishment. All those left at the club had nothing to do with the administration or control over the source of the financial meltdown but they have to try to pick up the pieces. This is difficult enough without the need for any punishment, which generally is just damaging the SPFL and making it less attractive to TV companies.

I really think the time has come for financial regulation in the Scottish game to be introduced, to try to prevent these sort of situations. No doubt there are other clubs in the pipeline with debts that, on the face of it, could put them into administration also.

Although it is not a guarantee of full financial security, if the idea was carefully thought through and clubs were forced to submit audited accounts each year to a certain formula or standard then I think a much more responsible approach would be taken by all. After all, it is surely in everyone’s interests to protect the future of our game – better to prevent than punish.