• Scottish Premier League

Hearts hit with transfer ban until February

ESPN staff
August 1, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Hearts will be unable to sign players aged 21 or over after entering administration © Getty Images
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Hearts have been slapped with a ban on registering new players aged 21 or over until February 2014.

The Scottish FA reached the decision at Hampden on Thursday as punishment for the Edinburgh club entering administration in June, for which they have already been given a 15-point penalty for the new season.

Although Hearts escaped being hit with any financial sanction, manager Gary Locke will now be unable to add any experienced players to his small squad until the end of the January transfer window.

An SFA statement said the penalty was "prohibition up until February 1, 2014, of registration of new players aged 21 and over".

The statement added: "This prohibition will not apply to players currently registered with the Scottish FA as being with the club."

Administrators BDO had revealed that Hearts owe debts amounting to £28.5 million, of which £15.5m and £8.2m respectively are owed to Ukio Bankas and UBIG, the collapsed Lithuanian companies of departed Russian owner Vladimir Romanov.

BDO have also listed other significant creditors, with £1.9m due to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs from a £1.75m tax case Hearts lost last year after agreeing a repayment plan of three separate £500,000 instalments.

Milson Capital Corp and Ensco 165 Ltd, companies thought to be under Romanov's control, are also owed a total of £1.7m. Milson loaned the club £1.2m to pay players' wages last season.

Both the fan-backed Foundation of Hearts and former Livingston owner Angelo Massone's Five Star Football Ltd are currently attempting to buy the club out of administration. However neither have been able to strike a deal with the major creditors in Lithuania.

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