Hearts plan to exit administration by mid-June, with BDO passing full control of the club to new owner Ann Budge.
Legal guidelines state that a company should not spend more than 12 months in administration and BDO aim to have all bills and documents signed off in court before June 19.
That is one year to the day since Hearts’ financial collapse, which saw the club enter administration with debts of almost £30million. A £2.5million Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) was agreed with major creditors in Lithuania last month which allows BDO to wind up their work.
Should the process go smoothly, Hearts could be out of administration by June 9. However, that is seen as the most ambitious date. The ultimate aim is to finish the process by the 19th and allow a new era to begin in earnest.
If June 19 arrives and Hearts remain in administration, BDO would then have to apply to Edinburgh’s Court of Session for a one-month extension to finalise their work. That would cost several thousand pounds in total. It would also make signing new players more difficult with the summer transfer window due to open on June 10 for new registrations.
Presently, Hearts would be entitled to apply to the board of the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) to register any new players on a one in, one out basis because they are still in administration.
They released six squad members this month – Ryan Stevenson being the latest to follow Jamie MacDonald, Jamie Hamill, Dylan McGowan, Callum Tapping and Mark Ridgers. The much preferred option for the club is to exit administration first and remove the need to apply to the SPFL to bring in a new face.
Budge has been managing Hearts in conjunction with BDO since the CVA was finalised and is now preparing to assume complete control. She has already appointed Craig Levein director of football and Robbie Neilson head coach after dispensing with the previous football management team of Gary Locke, Billy Brown and Alan Combe.
Neilson and Levein have spoken with goalkeeper Neil Alexander, midfielder Morgaro Gomis and defender Darren McGregor about possible moves. No signings have been finalised as yet.