Hearts seeks administrators, gets points deductionAP , Associated Press
Jun. 19, 2013 1:44 PM ET
EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) — Cash-strapped Scottish team Hearts was handed over to financial administrators on Wednesday, triggering a 15-point deduction that will take effect at the start of next season.
Accountancy firm BDO has taken over the running of the Edinburgh club, which has struggled with financial problems over the past two years and racked up debts of 25 million pounds ($39 million).
"We will now undertake an urgent examination of the company's records prior to making any further announcements," said Bryan Jackson, business restructuring partner at BDO. "We are acutely aware of the need for speed in this process given the uncertainty of the last few weeks and the proximity of the season's start."
The Scottish Premier League said Hearts was being sanctioned with the points penalty because it is "subject to an insolvency event," adding that the club was also "subject to an embargo on registering players with the SPL whilst in administration."
Owned by Lithuanian businessman Vladimir Romanov since 2005, Hearts is currently under a transfer embargo after failing to pay some players their wages on time, having acknowledged that it is "experiencing a shortfall in funding."
Hearts finished 10th in the 12-team SPL last season, 14 points clear of last-place Dundee, and is currently listening to offers for its best players to stay afloat.
"Fans will, inevitably, be concerned about these developments and none of them will have wanted this moment to arrive," Jackson said.
The last of Hearts' four Scottish league titles came in 1960 but it managed to briefly break the dominance of Glasgow clubs Celtic and Rangers by finishing second in the Scottish top flight in 2006. Its last trophy was the Scottish Cup in 2012.
Scottish football is in financial turmoil, with Rangers — Scotland's most successful team with 54 league titles — demoted to the country's lowest tier last year because of financial mismanagement, having entered bankruptcy protection following a long-running dispute with tax authorities.