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May 1, 2013

Heart reject South Melbourne share offer

Melbourne Heart have rejected a takeover offer from former NSL heavyweights South Melbourne, with the current owners not prepared to sell a controlling share of the A-League club.

Heart chief executive Scott Munn confirmed South Melbourne had contacted the club about acquiring a portion of shares - the second time it had done so.

But the Heart said no - and are believed to have done so in record time.

It is understood the Heart's current owners want to retain control and direction of the club they have built.

Munn says the Heart - who are on track to turn a small profit this year and may be the only A-League club to do so - are open to outside investment.

But they don't want to disrupt an off-field structure which they believe is working well.

"Our owners have been clear from the start - they're in this to have a club for the future, a club that develops young players, and to have a club that is not dominated by one particular group of owners," Munn told AAP.

"We're the only A-League club this year to break even.

"The owners don't have to put in any more money.

"Clearly we want to challenge for titles. To do that, we need to spend money on our football department, and we'd love some investment.

"But we're not going to make any rash decisions around the structure of the club which would jeopardise it in any way for a short-term grab for success."

Munn admitted there had been other offers of investment during the season - one from the Middle East and one from Europe.

The Heart are also locked into a deal to play at AAMI Park for the next three years - shooting down any suggestion they will have to decamp to another stadium to house average crowds of around 7,000.

South Melbourne's boutique Lakeside Stadium, with a 15,000 capacity, would appear a decent fit.

But Munn confirmed to AAP the Heart last season renegotiated a new three-year deal with AAMI Park.

The Heart also remain in negotiations with various tiers of government to extend their training base at Bundoora in Melbourne's north.

South Melbourne had also expressed interest in becoming involved in the Central Coast Mariners' ownership when the A-League champions were undergoing cash flow problems in March.

But the Mariners eventually offloaded a controlling interest to existing director Mike Charlesworth.

The Greek-backed club, who now play in the Victorian Premier League, had been a powerhouse in the old NSL winning four championships.

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