Hearts place entire squad up for sale
Hearts have announced that all of their players are up for sale as they look to “find a solution to bring in enough finance to allow [them] to trade into the new season”.
The Tynecastle club, who are in administration, were spared relegation from the Scottish Premier League last month despite their parent company, Lithuanian bank Ukio Bankas, having declared itself insolvent.
On Wednesday, the administrator of Ukio Bankas, to whom Hearts owe £15 million, said he has "no reason or desire to harm Hearts" following a Lithuanian court’s upholding of a decision to liquidate the bank.
The Scottish side, however, could still face another winding-up order by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs over a £100,000 bill. A majority of that bill has been paid, though.
Hearts released a statement on their official website on Thursday outlining the desperate nature of their situation.
The statement read: "It is now crucial to the football club that we find a solution to bring in enough finance to allow us to trade into the new season when normal trading can resume with the benefit of SPL and game-related income streams. The payments to HMRC and players/staff salaries are the most important issues in our focus these days where very limited time remains available to the club.
"However, given that the revenues for season tickets has dried up and no other realistic income is available quickly enough, the club will consider offers for the players of the current squad, including the most promising talent in order for the most necessary and important payments to be made.
"The board had planned to bring income in through the sale of players while considering the financial forecast for next season but now this will need to happen much earlier in order to preserve the business. We understand that this will lead to significant on-field pressure but at all times we must consider the health of the club and preserve it for future generations. We will adjust our expectations for the new season accordingly but will still be focused on the playing side of the business."
The statement went on to explain some of the reasons behind the club's financial problems, before urging fans, who have so far made a point of not doing so, to buy season tickets in order to aid the Hearts cause.
The statement continued: "Our financial deficit can, in part, be attributed to our worst league finish in over 30 years last season. This had a significant direct impact on the business. Other factors that hit revenues include the absence of Rangers Football Club from the SPL and significantly increased stadium costs particularly in relation to the Main Stand.
"The biggest threat to the club at present, however, is hesitation and inaction. We hope that those supporters who have purposely held off will reconsider and make the decision to back the club in the best way possible in order that we can meet our targets. Provided we can achieve security for the club, it is the view of the board that there is a viable strategy for the change of ownership to a willing buyer or investor.
"The most difficult part in this is finding an agreement with the creditors, however we know that there is goodwill with Ukio Bankas, as demonstrated by the statement from the Ukio Bankas administrator yesterday. We also believe that UBIG remains supportive of Hearts."