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Volume 10 No. 22


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).

Second Bundesliga club MSV Duisburg has been denied its league license, according to the DEUTSCHE WELLE. Duisburg "will probably spend next season playing third-tier football," while SV Sandhausen is "saved from relegation." An arbitration court dismissed the club's appeal for its league license "after a six-hour meeting in Frankfurt on Wednesday, effectively relegating the club." Duisburg Chair Jürgen Marbach said, "We all feel empty and sad. This is a bad day for MSV and football." There had been "several complaints about the license documents submitted by Duisburg, including a computation error and supposed unfair credit terms from sponsors." The German Football League's (DFL) licensing committee "decided the financial mistakes were grounds to refuse the club's playing status in the second division." Duisburg's Attorney Horst Kletke said, "It wasn't enough, we have to accept it. It was a fair trial and it was not hopeless. It is sad for MSV, but the arbitration court rejected the suit" (DEUTSCHE WELLE, 6/19).

EMPTY CHEST: In Duisburg, Ingo Blazejewski reported MSV Duisburg's shirt sponsorship deal with online utility brand Rheinpower "is in jeopardy after the DFL denied Duisburg its 2nd Bundesliga license." Rheinpower spokesperson Torsten Hiermann said, "The sponsorship deal calls on both parties to renegotiate if the club gets relegated from the 2nd Bundesliga." Rheinpower "has been the club's title sponsor for four years and the current deal runs for another year." Duisburg gets a reported €1.4M ($1.8M) per year from Rheinpower (DER WESTEN, 6/21).