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SBD Global/December 11, 2012/Franchises

Hearts Owner Romanov Insists Club Will Not Go Out Of Business On His Watch

Scottish Premier League club Heart of Midlothian Owner Vladimir Romanov insists that he will not "let the club die on his watch," according to Scott McDermott of the Scotland DAILY RECORD. The "controversial Lithuanian" also took a shot at U.K. tax authority HMRC and accused it of being "too aggressive" in its pursuit of unpaid taxes at Tynecastle. Romanov said, "We have our income and were able to demonstrate to HMRC that we have sufficient income to cover that liability. The threats were a draconic measure. It’s a very stupid argument. I cannot see the logic in trying to close the club for non-payment of a monthly tax where, if you want to know, you can find out the money will be available." Fan group "Foundation of Hearts" is "attempting to raise the funds to buy the club from Romanov and put it back in the hands of the supporters." But the Lithuanian, who purchased the club in '05, has warned that they will need to "up the ante" if he is to sell (DAILY RECORD, 12/10).

GETTING IN A DIG: The SCOTSMAN wrote that Romanov "could not resist a dig at the Foundation of Hearts, the consortium led by Alex Mackie." Romanov said, "The starting offer of the Foundation of Hearts was more of a bad joke. They offered to take over the club for £450,000 ($723,000) and for us still to fund it until January. I am surprised they want to buy the club with supporters’ money and not invest their personal wealth like I did." Despite this, Romanov favors the idea of fan ownership. Romanov: "We want to make Hearts the people’s club, but the success of this will depend on how the media portray it" (SCOTSMAN, 12/10). 
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