Hearts Secure Immediate Future, Strike Deal With Taxman Over Debt
Scottish Premier League side Heart of Midlothian has "done a deal with the taxman to safeguard the immediate future of the Tynecastle club," according to the Scotland DAILY RECORD. The Hearts have agreed to terms with U.K. tax authority HMRC that will "allow them to pay the outstanding £449,692 ($713,000) in two instalments." The deal means Hearts' match with St. Mirren this weekend won't be its last. Hearts said that "the deal was made possible after a number of first-team players deferred their November salaries to a later date." Hearts Dir Sergejus Fedetovas said, "We are pleased that we have been granted this extension as it acknowledges the strenuous efforts that are going on to ensure this club continues to contribute to employment, society, community and football in Scotland" (DAILY RECORD, 11/13). The SCOTSMAN reported that the final settlement date will be Dec. 3, and following tax payments in November and December on time "will be essential." The club assured HMRC that the deferred settlement and all future tax payments "would be made in a timeous manner" (SCOTSMAN, 11/13). In a statement on its website, the Hearts said, "Make no mistake the fans and players have been instrumental in achieving this extension with HMRC. The supporters' efforts have been quite phenomenal" (Hearts).
BUSINESSMEN EYE HEARTS TAKEOVER: The SCOTSMAN reported that a consortium "vying to buy Hearts and usher in a new era of fan ownership has submitted a takeover bid" to majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov. The deal "would see businessmen and supporters groups spearhead a new fan-led regime at the Gorgie club." Capital insurance CEO Alex Mackie, 58, is believed to be "one of the key figures behind the offer." Mackie is also said to be a “fervent” Hearts fan. He belongs to a syndicate called Foundation of Hearts Ltd. that was registered with Companies House in late '10. The bid has "already been submitted to Hearts’ current owners" and comes as shares in Romanov’s bank Ukio Bankas plunged to its "lowest level for eight years." Several insiders confirmed that Mackie was "spearheading the takeover bid," but the identities of other backers "remain unconfirmed." One highly placed Edinburgh businessman, who declined to be identified, said Mackie has developed a reputation as “one of the good guys.” Meanwhile, Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray is "thought to have made headway in behind-the-scenes talks" with HMRC, which was pursuing Hearts for the £450,000 unpaid tax bill, in "a bid to give new momentum to discussions." Murray: “I have been speaking to the Treasury and senior officials at HMRC to try to get a constructive dialogue going between the club and tax authority. I’m confident now that those discussions are open and the club is in a better position today than it was last week” (SCOTSMAN, 11/13).