Hearts take step back from oblivion after HMRC grant them extension on tax bill

By John Greechan


Hearts have stepped back from the brink of oblivion — after being granted a stay of execution by HMRC.

On a day of dramatic  developments at Tynecastle, it also emerged the Gorgie  outfit had rejected an offer for  the club by businessman Alex Mackie on behalf of the  Foundation of Hearts group.

But the most pressing matter had seen Hearts threatened with liquidation over unpaid PAYE, National Insurance and VAT totalling £450,000 and  dating back to October, with  a deadline set for close of  business tomorrow.

Safe for now: The immediate threat to Hearts has been quelled after the club were granted an extension

Safe for now: The immediate threat to Hearts has been quelled after the club were granted an extension

Director Sergejus Fedotovas revealed, however, that thanks to players deferring their November salaries and fans raising funds, the tax authorities had agreed to take the money owed in two payments — one now and the second by December 3.

They have also undertaken to pay all future tax bills on time and, with Fedotovas claiming that the club are running £2million over budget for the season, that will further stretch the fundraising abilities of supporters. In a bid to secure every last penny in the Hearts family, the club yesterday warned fans — many of whom remain sceptical of both the Vladimir Romanov regime and the shares issue set up to ‘save’ the club — against donating to splinter groups.

Fedotovas praised punters but warned that the fight was far from over, saying: ‘Make no mistake, the fans and the players have been instrumental in achieving this extension from HMRC.

‘The supporters’ efforts have been quite phenomenal. However, it is essential they continue all their work to assist us in meeting financial targets at the club.

‘It is imperative they continue with this level of backing in the weeks ahead until the share issue closes on December 19.

‘We have a lot of hard work ahead of us in order to fully rectify our financial position. ‘But, with further backing and ongoing fundraising by supporters, we know we have a very positive opportunity to create a strong club for the future.’

Thanks: Players agreed to defer their November salaries until a later date

Thanks: Players agreed to defer their November salaries until a later date

Apart from the club selling shares, taking donations from fans — including young children emptying their piggy banks — and hoping to sell out fixtures, a number of other groups have set up fundraising operations.

That hasn’t met with the approval of the Tynecastle regime, with a spokesman declaring: ‘There are now 10 organisations actively involved in seeking funds from fans.

‘We have dealt with some of these groups before, but others have only recently been created and the club has no direct relationship with them.

‘For that reason, we would urge supporters to please think twice before parting with their hard-earned money.

‘We would reiterate that the current share offer, the recently set up donation line, and buying tickets for upcoming matches at Tynecastle are the best ways to guarantee that the money handed over will go towards club activities.’

Support: Harry Redknapp will donate to the 'fighting fund'

Support: Harry Redknapp will donate to the 'fighting fund'

That drew a sharp response from club legend Gary Mackay, whose 1874 Fighting Fund has now attracted the high-profile support of former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp.

Speaking earlier this week, Mackay said: ‘We are not working against the club in any way, shape or form.

‘The fighting fund will be looked after by the group and, if the club needed money, we would work with them to pay bills.

‘Everybody has their own thoughts about how best to help the club and our fighting fund would be looking to galvanise those fans who want to help the club, but are unsure exactly where to hand their money.’

Former players Mackay and Scott Crabbe announced the creation of their fundraising effort this week.

They have immediately garnered several notable backers. Steven Pressley, Paul Hartley, Stephane Adam and Gilles Rousset have all pledged support.

It was also confirmed that Redknapp, having become enamoured by the Jambos during Spurs’ Europa League tie in August 2011, will be donating to the fund.


The comments below have not been moderated.

"The Rangers" fans can seethe all they want. The difference between the two clubs is like night and day. HMFC and their supporters are fundraising to pay their liailities not run away from them and expect nothing to change

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As pleasing as this arrangement is I can only imagine the seethe pouring out of the ears of fans of 'The Rangers'. Maybe they should ask themselves why this has happened and look inside their club at who was involved to get to the truth. HMFC fans should put any potential custodians under detailed and microscopic scrutiny to ensure they have the clubs future best interests at heart.

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Maybe Wonga could do them a deal on some loans?

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