Scottish Premier League Heart of Midlothian "will begin next season with at least a 15-point penalty" after the company that owns the club, Heart of Midlothian Football Club plc, "applied to the Court of Session in Edinburgh to voluntarily put itself into administration," according to Richard Wilson of the HERALD SCOTLAND. Once that request is formally granted, "it is expected that the accountancy firm KPMG will be appointed." While the move by the HMFC plc directors "was unexpected, it was inevitable that the company would go into administration in the near future." A dramatic fall in season-ticket sales "contributed to a severe cashflow problem" that resulted in the wage bill not being paid in full last Friday, and only half of a £104,000 ($163,000) tax bill being met (HERALD SCOTLAND, 6/18). In Edinburgh, Allan Mackie reported Lithuanian bank Ukio Bankas "has approached insolvency experts BDO to become Hearts’ administrators." BDO -- the firm currently battling to save Dunfermline -- "is the preferred choice of Kanuas-based Ukio Bankas," which owns 29.9% of Hearts and is owed £15M ($23.4M) by the club. It also "holds a claim against Tynecastle as security on the debt" (SCOTSMAN, 6/18).
FACING EVICTION: In Glasgow, Keith Jackson reported Hearts "fear they could be evicted from Tynecastle by Lithuanians if they lose a courtroom battle to appoint their own administrators." Around 130 people "are now fearing for their livelihoods and bracing themselves for a savage round of redundancies." However, another "potentially devastating twist" emerged Monday night when it became clear Ukio Bankas will "attempt to block KPMG’s appointment." The Lithuanian firm's "aggressive move to stop KPMG from taking control has sparked fears of an attempted grab on the ground which has been home to Hearts for the last 127 years" (DAILY RECORD, 6/18). Also in Glasgow, David McCarthy reported Edinburgh South MP Ian Murray "entrusted with the job of trying to orchestrate a supporters’ buyout that will allow his club to rise from the rubble of the Romanov regime, managed to divorce personal feelings from the job in hand." That "is to make sure his organisation is sitting at KPMG’s table as soon as possible to try to thrash out a deal for fan ownership at Tynecastle." The administrators "may have other offers to consider and Murray is a realist." KPMG "will sell the club to the people who can guarantee the best deal for creditors." Murray is "determined to ensure even if the Foundation does not end up in control of their beloved club, they will be in a position to work with those who take over" (DAILY RECORD, 6/18).
Super League rugby Salford City Reds Owner Marwan Koukash "wants to buy" League One side Oldham Athletic, according to Mike Keegan of the MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS. The horse-racing magnate, who saved the Super League side from administration in February, "is hoping to complete his takeover at Boundary Park before the start of the new season." Koukash said that "he was close to buying a football club and returning it to its heyday."
He "refused to identify the club," but it is understood that it is League One Latics, whose Chair Simon Corney "is looking to sell." A source close to Koukash confirmed that the club is Oldham and added that "the potential swoop would not affect his ownership of the Reds." Koukash also said, "There is a club I'm looking at which hopefully we will be able to secure within the next month or two" (MANCHESTER EVENING NEWS, 6/18).
Newly promoted La Liga side Villarreal President Fernando Roig "wants to demonstrate that another type of management is possible in athletic entities: more adjusted to the economic reality and the needs of the fans," according to Carlos M. Sánchez of EL CONFIDENCIAL. With "this in mind," Villarreal on Monday launched its season ticket sales for the team's return to La Liga with characteristics "that make the club a pioneer." Roig's goal was to offer "low prices and high quality." In this case, season tickets starting at €100 ($133.8) to see La Liga football. The offer "couldn't be more attractive." The response in the ticket lines has proved the Villarreal president correct. In a few hours on Monday, the club added 2,000 new season-ticket holders (EL CONFIDENCIAL, 6/18).
Suzuki announced ahead of a test of its prototype bike in Spain on Monday that it "will return to the MotoGP championship in 2015" (REUTERS, 6/17). ... The Bristol Flyers will join the British Basketball League from '14 after having their franchise bid accepted. The newcomers will continue in the English Basketball League Division One next season before moving up. The side is overseen by Bristol Sport Ltd., which already works with Bristol City FC in the Football League, Bristol Rugby in the RFU Championship, along with its sponsorship via the Bristol City Community Trust of the Bristol Academy Women’s Football Club (BBL). ... Barcelona Sporting Dir Andoni Zubizarreta has "proven himself a loyal man with the two primary co-workers with whom he has worked side-by-side in his first three years as Barcelona's sporting director." Barcelona VP Josep Maria Bartomeu told Zubizarreta to release scouting coordinator Albert Valentín, but Zubizarreta said that if Valentín is forced out, he would also leave. Zubizarreta was able to help the club negotiate a contract extension through June '14 for Valentín (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 6/18).