Scottish Premier League

Hearts hit with points deduction

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Wed, 19 Jun 2013 18:30:00

Sunderland have confirmed the signing of winger David Moberg Karlsson from Gothenburg on a four-year contract for an undisclosed fee.

The 19-year-old began his career with IFK Mariestad before joining Gothenburg in 2010, making his senior debut for them as a 17-year-old.

Moberg Karlsson, who can also operate in attack, played 28 times for them in total, including 10 in the current season but will now boost Paolo Dio Canio's attacking options on Wearside.

He played alongside former Sunderland player Tobias Hysen at Gothenburg and won the Swedish Cup last month, coming on as a substitute against Djurgardens in the final.

Moberg Karlsson is also a Sweden U19 international and played for them against their French counterparts last month.

The Scottish Premier League confirmed the automatic penalty had been triggered by the club lodging their intention to go into administration at the Court of Session in Edinburgh on Monday.

It's understood the appointment of BDO as administrators was finalised on Wednesday and will be confirmed by the insolvency practitioners shortly.

In the meantime, the SPL released a statement of its own, outlining the impact of the administration.

The statement read: "Following Heart of Midlothian plc lodging a notice of intention to appoint an administrator with the Court of Session in Edinburgh on 17 June 2013, the SPL confirmed that a number of sporting sanctions have been applied to the club."

An SPL spokesperson added: "As Heart of Midlothian is subject to an insolvency event, a 15-point deduction will be applied to its total points in the league championship for next season 2013/14.

"In addition, Heart of Midlothian is subject to an embargo on registering players with the SPL whilst in administration."

The SPL is due to merge with the Scottish Football League later this month but

the points penalty will carry over into the top flight of the new Scottish

Professional Football League and Hearts will begin their season at St Johnstone on August 3 with a negative tally.

Hearts had hoped to appoint KPMG as administrators after failing to pay players their wages on Friday and in the face of a winding-up order over a

partially-paid £100,000 tax bill.

But the administrators of Ukio Bankas, the club's major creditor and

part-owner, objected and instigated the appointment of BDO.

The bankrupt Lithuanian financial institution is owed £15million from Hearts,

three-fifths of the club's total debt, and holds a floating charge of their

assets, including Tynecastle Stadium. Its choice of administrator was therefore

destined to succeed and the appointment went through without a court dispute.

BDO is currently in control at Dunfermline under the direction of Bryan

Jackson, whose past experience includes similar roles at Clydebank, Clyde,

Motherwell, Dundee and Portsmouth. However, Jackson is unlikely to take sole

control at Hearts given his other commitments.

Ukio Bankas owns 29.9 per cent of Hearts, with another Lithuanian company,

UBIG, having a 50 per cent stake. Both companies were formerly controlled by

Vladimir Romanov, who ultimately called the shots at Hearts until his personal

business empire collapsed in recent months.

The situation is further complicated by the fact UBIG is owed £10million by

Hearts and signalled its inability to meet its liabilities last month, although

its insolvency has not been confirmed.

Today's development has been on the cards for some time. Hearts avoided

administration or worse in December last year when supporters pumped more than £1million into the club through buying shares which are now effectively


The cash input allowed Hearts to avert a winding-up order over a #450,000 tax

bill and they also agreed a deal with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs to pay a separate and historic £1.6million liability over three years.

Players and other staff have experienced numerous delays in receiving wages in the last two seasons and Hearts spent much of last season under a transfer

embargo, which was reinstated earlier this month.

The club had previously announced the signing of Danny Wilson from Liverpool on a three-year deal but the embargo means they are unlikely to be able to register the defender with the league when his Anfield contract officially expires at the

end of this month.

The club made significant cuts to the wage bill last season and again this

summer but alarm bells were ringing loudly when director Sergejus Fedotovas told shareholders last month that there was a #2.5million funding gap for the coming season which he expected to be filled by transfer cash and a fans' membership scheme which was in the very early stages of planning.

There was therefore an inevitability about the descent into administration and

a failure to meet projected season-ticket sales speeded up the process.

More than 5,000 supporters have signed up to the Foundation of Hearts takeover scheme but a number of other interested parties have already emerged and reports today claim that a UK-based group has already formulated an offer and a Company Voluntary Arrangement proposal to the Ukio Bankas administrator.

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