A CHANGE of ownership at Hearts is one step closer following talks between club director Sergejus Fedotovas and several supporters’ groups.
The Evening News has learned that all parties are close to identifying a model for fan ownership, although no offer has yet been made for the majority shareholding in the club held by Ukio Bankas Investment Group.
Supporters Direct are helping broker the talks, which involve the Hearts Shareholders Association, the Federation of Hearts Supporters Clubs, the Hearts Supporters Trust, the Hearts Youth Development Committee, the Fans Forum and Foundation of Hearts.
Fedotovas is acting on behalf of Vladimir Romanov, who controls UBIG.
It is hoped that Hearts could have new owners by the start of next season, although those involved are reluctant to put a definite time scale in place at this stage.
The fact that all fans groups are now working in tandem with Supporters Direct is seen as a key factor in transferring ownership to those who follow the club.
Supporters Direct want to broker a smooth transition between UBIG and Hearts. Romanov has so far been keen to secure a considerable fee to relinquish control and has rejected offers of £450,000 from Foundation of Hearts and £4.5 million from former Livingston owner Angelo Massone.