Hearts win compensation fight over Lewis Neilson as Dundee United get nothing

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Hearts have won their compensation fight with Dundee United over Lewis Neilson and will not pay the Tannadice club a penny for the teenage defender.

A Scottish Professional Football League tribunal has taken several weeks to deliberate over the issue and found in favour of Hearts. United claimed the Edinburgh club were due them a six-figure sum under FIFA rules after signing 19-year-old Neilson on a three-year deal, but the SPFL have ruled otherwise.

The Evening News understands that the timing of United’s contract extension offer to Neilson did not protect their right to compensation as per FIFA legislation. That allowed Hearts to step in and bring the player to Tynecastle Park. They labelled him a “free transfer” when announcing his arrival.

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The SPFL were asked to arrange a tribunal to adjudicate on the matter as United pursued a payment from their cinch Premiership rivals. However, the final ruling has been delivered and Hearts are satisfied with the outcome.

The Tynecastle sporting director Joe Savage said when Neilson signed that he was coming in as a player with development potential. “To get him on a free transfer is great business from our perspective. We're overwhelmed by it, at the age he is, with a chance to develop him further.”

Despite his relative inexperience, Neilson has made 11 appearances in maroon so far this season as a relentless injury list has left the Hearts squad stretched to its limit. He has played in the Europa Conference League against Istanbul Basaksehir, RFS and Fiorentina, whilst also racking up a number of outings in the Premiership.

He could find himself pitched into Saturday’s league match against Celtic at Tynecastle as Hearts look to end a run of three wins in 14 games.