Backing for fan ownership bid at troubled football club

By staff writers
August 15, 2013

Lothian's Green MSP has welcomed news that fan organisation Foundation of Hearts has been granted preferred bidder status by the troubled football club's administrators.

Heart of Midlothian, one of the iconic clubs in Scottish football, and a major community asset, has been in financial trouble since a combination of administration and bankruptcy hit its former erratic owners, forcing it to the brink of insolvency.

Labour MSP Ian Murray and politicians from all parties have endorsed plans for partial fan ownership, but the coordinated Hearts supporters' bid, backed by Supporters Direct Scotland and many others, still has "a long way to go" say the club's own administrators.

The Scottish Greens are proposing a new law to give football fans the right of first refusal when clubs come up for sale. The party hopes to use the forthcoming Community Empowerment and Renewal Bill to extend right to buy rules, which already exist for rural land.

Lothian MSP Alison Johnstone explained: "This is great news for Hearts fans and for Edinburgh, and confirms that the Foundation of Hearts have put together a financially robust bid, the best solution for the club's long-term prospects on and off the park."

She added: "There's still a long way to go, though, and a lot of hard work still to be put in by the Foundation and by the fans themselves before a new day can dawn at Tynecastle Stadium."

"Greens will be bringing forward some changes to the law later this year to ensure fans would always get first refusal over Scotland's clubs in situations like this, proposals which would have put the Foundation at the front of the queue automatically. They've got there without that help, but I'd urge all fans of football, not just Hearts fans, to support both those changes and this extraordinary bid," said Ms Johnstone.

[Ekk/3]

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