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Hearts crisis deepens


Hearts have been banned from signing any new players by the Scottish Premier League. The club failed to pay some of its players their July wages, incurring a transfer embargo and the possibility of further punishments at a later date. The wages were due on Friday and it is not yet clear how many players have received their pay, or what percentage has been paid.

On Thursday the club announced that it would consider offers for its first-team squad as it tries to generate income until the new season begins. The club needs around £500,000 to keep the club running until the start of next season. The amount needed to sustain the club over the summer is the equivalent of 2,000 season tickets.

Hearts are in a desperate financial state. The club owes £15m to Ukio Bankas, which has been declared bankrupt. In addition, £10m is due to the club's Lithuanian parent company, UBIG, which is claiming insolvency.

This week it said it had settled the majority of a £100,000 bill from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs for unpaid PAYE, with the threat of a winding-up order looming. And at the end of last year it agreed terms with HMRC to pay £500,000 a year for three years in backdated tax and National Insurance.

The club blames its cash shortage on lower than expected season ticket sales, the team's worst league finish in more than 30 years (10th in the SPL), the absence of Rangers from the top tier and increased costs relating to the Main Stand.

Vladimir Romanov, Hearts' majority shareholder, is looking to sell the club. One potential bidder is The Foundation of Hearts, which hopes to place the club in the ownership of the supporters.