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SBD Global/June 24, 2013/Franchises

Former Scottish Rugby Union CEO Gordon McKie Heading Consortium To Buy Hearts

Former Scottish Rugby Union CEO Gordon McKie "is heading a consortium" to buy Scottish Premier League side Heart of Midlothian, according to Tom English of the SCOTSMAN. McKie said that his group consists of a handful of investors, "most of them Scottish-born Hearts supporters, some based in London and others based in Edinburgh." McKie has been working on a proposal since February, when he met former Hearts Dir Sergejus Fedotovas "to inform him of his group's interest." On Thursday, McKie met the club's accounting firm BDO administrator Bryan Jackson as well as Foundation of Hearts Chair and MP Ian Murray, "who are also interested in bidding for Hearts." McKie was at the SRU for almost six years up to '11 before going on to be Hong Kong FA CEO "for eight turbulent months." McKie: "We've done a lot of diligence. Given my background in rugby and sport I know what I'm doing" (SCOTSMAN, 6/23).

FAN SUPPORT: The BBC reported Jackson "is optimistic Hearts will reach the season-ticket sales needed to keep the ailing club afloat." BDO took control of the Edinburgh club last week "and set a target of selling 3,000 more season tickets to keep going over the summer." Jackson said, "Sales started off very well. I understand we got to nearly 500 by yesterday. This was more than we'd anticipated and it shows the demand is there." Hearts had already sold 7,000 season books before entering administration, "but the money raised through those sales has already gone" (BBC, 6/22). In Glasgow, Gordon Waddell wrote "a groundswell of fans who are hellbent on filling the ground week in week out to help what’s left of their team overcome the 15-point mountain they have to climb even to get to base camp." Whatever happens, Jackson can not afford the fans to "slacken off in their efforts." No matter who the interested parties are in acquiring the club, "it will be well into the season before any deal can be completed." Jackson: "Saying it would take three months is accurate. There is a statutory timetable. People talk about quick sales but it is never that easy. Technically, these sales are very complicated" (DAILY RECORD, 6/23).

LOCKED OUT: The HERALD SCOTLAND reported Hearts Manager Gary Locke "will have no input into which members of his squad are to be made redundant." BDO said it is likely to lay off two senior players and two youth-team members "as they fight for the Edinburgh outfit's survival" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 6/21).
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