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Volume 6 No. 214


Scottish Premier League Heart of Midlothian Owner Vladimir Romanov is "considering keeping Tynecastle Stadium and leasing it back to Hearts when he agrees to sell his majority shareholding in the club," according to Barry Anderson of the SCOTSMAN. A debt repayment plan may also be included in any deal with a new owner as Romanov and his Ukio Bankas Investment Group "plan their exit strategy." Hearts Dir Sergejus Fedotovas, who works closely with Romanov in Lithuania, revealed said that UBIG "could retain ownership of Tynecastle and lease it to the club each year." Repayment of Hearts’ £24M ($38.5M) debt "may also feature heavily as part of a takeover." Romanov and his associates "are willing to discuss selling Hearts," although they are "reluctant to name their price outright." So far, Foundation of Hearts Chair Alex Mackie has had three different bids rejected. Italian businessman Angelo Massone also had a £4.5M ($7.2M) offer denied. Fedotovas said, "Apart from the terms acceptable to current owners, the buyer will need to demonstrate he is a fit person to run the club and he has a realistic plan for running the club successfully" (SCOTSMAN, 11/27).

All 550 Red Bull Racing employees will receive a £10,000 ($16,000) bonus after driver Sebastian Vettel helped his team win the constructors' title at the U.S. Grand Prix Nov. 18, according to Phil Duncan of the London DAILY MAIL. Team principal Christian Horner "stressed that the key ingredient behind his team's unprecedented success was its people." They will now be rewarded with "a tidy bonus just in time for the festive season."  Meanwhile, at rival McLaren, "the picture isn't quite so rosy." Driver Lewis Hamilton's retirement from the lead of the season-ending race in Brazil has cost the British team in excess of £7M ($11M) in prize money -- the "difference between finishing second and third in the constructors' championship" (DAILY MAIL, 11/27). In London, Tom Cary reported McLaren’s lack of title success since '00 -- Hamilton’s drivers’ championship in '08 remains the only title they have won -- "raises the pressure" on team principal Martin Whitmarsh, who "must cope next season without arguably the fastest driver in the sport" (TELEGRAPH, 11/26).