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Hearts Cannot Afford To Relax
Hearts are still well short of the finances they need to see out the season. All options are being considered as fans cannot be expected to do much more
Despite Hearts fans rallying to the cause, the club admit they are still in danger of running out of money to complete this seasons' commitments. Director Sergejus Fedotovas cannot speak highly enough of the Tynecastle fans but he is well aware they are not out of the woods. Hearts have a tax bill due and also need to meet salary commitments, despite players and coaches forgoing November salaries for the moment. In a Q&A on the club's official website, Fedotovas said: "The effort is outstanding. It is what we were aiming for, as it was required to preserve the club. And I need to be clear; we are still trying to reach half way through what is required. Many important challenges lie ahead. We are still short of covering our wage and tax bill undertakings for the season." The current owners have dismissed at least two approaches to buy the club in recent weeks and have begun talks with Supporters Direct Scotland over fan ownership. A similar scheme - led by Alex Mackie's Foundation of Hearts group - was one of the two dismissed already. Vladimir Romanov is said to be willing to write off the £20m he is owed is the right offer is received. Fedotovas did not put a price on the stake held by Romanov's UBIG investment vehicle. Fedotovas said: "The current owners did not highlight preferences of any deal, so a reasonable proposal will have a way forward given it reflects the value of the club and is acceptable in principle. Apart from the terms being acceptable to the current owners, the buyer will need to demonstrate they are a fit person to run the club and have a realistic plan for running the club successfully. As a possible option, the club may be sold and the stadium may remain in ownership of UBIG and leased to the club. In this way the value of the deal for the football club only will be reduced and debt repayment will be linked to the stadium." Regarding the possibility of forgetting all about the £20m, Fedotovas said: "It depends on the deal. If the buyer is willing to get the club for nothing like the Foundation of Hearts has tried then there should be no expectation of the debt being written off. UBIG has acquired the club with a similar amount of debt and a similar financial situation by paying a consideration for the shares. In my view, the price is the value of the club which is acceptable to the present owners. It is normal that every individual sees this value in a different way but the major thing is that it should be reasonable. The offers which we have received until now were opportunistic rather than reasonable. Things may change next year if bidders will reconsider their position or new bidders will emerge, and I know that some people are actively considering things in the background. We are working on improving the business of the club to make it more competitive and more attractive to investors."
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