Hearts: SPL taking legal advice on developments

Tynecastle. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Tynecastle. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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THE Scottish Premier League are continuing to take legal advice on the financial position at Hearts but remain of the view that the Tynecastle club have not breached any of their insolvency regulations.

The latest developments at Hearts were discussed at a board meeting of the SPL at Hampden yesterday. Last month, Hearts were spared from potential relegation when the SPL board decided that the collapse of their Lithuanian parent company UBIG did not constitute an insolvency event for the club itself which would have incurred an 18-point deduction.

Any such punishment subsequently imposed on Hearts will take place at the start of next season, in the form of a 15-point deduction, but SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster confirmed that the position of his board remains the same.

“There has been no change,” said Doncaster. “There has been no insolvency event at Hearts within the SPL rules. We will continue to monitor the situation, though, and we know what will happen should there be an insolvency event.

“There have been various things going on. We have a firm of Lithuanian lawyers advising us and monitoring things very carefully, enabling us to look at our rules and apply them to what appears to be going on within Lithuania.

“It’s always difficult when any club faces financial stresses. Ultimately, any league has to fall back on its rule book, monitor the situation carefully and apply the rules evenly. That’s what we’ll do.

“I’m not sure that this is a new situation at Hearts. It’s been ongoing for some while.”

Hearts’ failure to meet the latest demand for payment by HMRC has incurred another automatic player registation embargo by the SPL. “That will continue as long as the HMRC default continues,” added Doncaster. “So they are not able to make any signings.”

Asked if Hearts had registered the signing of Danny Wilson, who joined on a three-year contract on 27 May after spending part of last season on loan from Liverpool, Doncaster said it was policy not to comment on individual players.

However, SPL secretary Iain Blair said: “You’ve got to be careful and differentiate between signings and the extension of a contract. Extending a contract does not require a registration. If you move a player from loan to permanent before that deal expired, that would not necessarily require a new registration.”