SPL to lift Hearts transfer embargo on July 1

Hearts manager Gary Locke will be able to add to his squad. Picture: SNS
Hearts manager Gary Locke will be able to add to his squad. Picture: SNS
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THE Scottish Premier League will lift all signing restrictions on Hearts and allow the Edinburgh club to register new players as normal when the summer transfer window opens on July 1.

SPL officials have confirmed to the Evening News that all sanctions imposed on Hearts following late payment of wages and bonuses will finish at the end of the season – provided there are no further problems paying players. That means the Tynecastle hierarchy will be free to do business and recruit new faces ahead of the 2013/14 campaign.

Hearts were hit with a blanket transfer embargo in October last year due to late wages and overdue bonus payments to their squad. That was relaxed in January but the club were restricted to signing players aged 21 and under on a one-in-and-one-out basis. Any new arrival also had to be earning equal or less money than the player replaced.

The SPL confirmed today that those restrictions will end when the current league season concludes on May 19. Hearts have paid players on time every month since the turn of the year and satisfied league officials that there is no longer a “remuneration default” at the club. However, they must continue to make contracted payments to all players and staff on time or the SPL will take fresh action.

The news will be most welcomed by the Hearts manager Gary Locke, who is already compiling a list of potential signing targets for the summer. His squad lacks experience and he is eager to replenish his playing pool ahead of the new campaign.

Meanwhile, Hearts Under-20s lost 2-1 to their Hamilton counterparts at Tynecastle last night. Billy King scored for the home side to equalise Craig Watson’s opening goal, only for Hearts to succumb to a late winner from Lee Kilday.