Tynecastle club on the market.
Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov has put the Edinburgh club on the market after becoming disillusioned with football.
The Lithuanian businessman confirmed last night he was seeking to sell up – or bring on board new financial partners – after battling against what he calls “an orchestrated campaign against him personally and, by association, the club”.
Hearts are more than £30million in debt and Romanov has previously expressed his reluctance to continue to plough money into the club.
The players also faced a delay in receiving their latest wages – the payments coming through on Friday, more than two weeks late.
Romanov is unhappy at some of the media coverage of the club’s current plight, and told Hearts News: “I haven’t lost my interest in the club, but I have for football.
“I now have to consider finding a partner or selling the club.”
A statement on the official Hearts website added that the club remains committed to exploring a move away from Tynecastle, but conceded that they would be forced to turn to homegrown talent for future squad strengthening.
“The position of the shareholder [Romanov] in relation to football in Scotland, in which he has invested more than any other individual in the last six years, is unsatisfactory,” the statement read.
“Hearts must, therefore, prepare to reduce investment in the playing squad to match the income in the coming season and turn to the Academy for its new additions while also improving revenue streams, including working on a new stadium in order to achieve this as soon as possible.
“It is important to stress that Hearts at the moment is strongly dependent on the funding from the major shareholder and the attempts of the media to undermine the position of the club and Mr Romanov pose a direct threat to the immediate future of the club.”
Hearts also strongly denied reports of a possible “fire sale” of players.
“The club has some of the best players in the country and no player will be transferred for a penny less than their true value,” a spokesman confirmed.
“Hearts will address squad efficiency over the coming months as a normal course of business. We will continue to pursue our policy of focusing on youth development.”