Romanov: ‘I want to buy a theatre and sell the clubs’

Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov has confirmed he wants to sell the Edinburgh club.

Romanov earlier this month declared his growing disillusionment with Scottish football and has now issued instructions to sell Hearts as well as his majority share holding in Lithuania’s FK Kaunas and Partizan Minsk in Belarus.

The Russia-born Lithuanian businessman first invested in Hearts in 2004 but the club are around £30million in debt and in need of new investment, with their Tynecastle Stadium home previously labelled unfit for redevelopment, and Romanov is apparently unwilling to stump up the cash.

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Romanov told Russian news agency RIA Novosti: “I want to leave football. I have given the order to find buyers for all my clubs.

“I want to buy a theatre and sell the clubs.”

The news came on a day when Hearts announced 33 players had received their salaries and the remainder will be paid “as soon as practically possible” following a second consecutive month of overdue wages.

Senior squad members had to wait 19 days for last month’s overdue wages, which were eventually paid on November 4 and the players should have received their November income yesterday.

A club spokesperson said “More than half of the Hearts squad has been paid and we will pay the remaining players as soon as practically possible.”

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The Edinburgh club admitted they were trying to “obtain funding” after settling a tax bill of more than £1million with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs on Tuesday.

Financial concerns are not the only issue at Hearts, with manager Paulo Sergio today hit with a five-match ban for misconduct by the Scottish Football Association.

The Hearts boss was sent to the stand in Hearts’ ill-tempered 1-0 loss to Kilmarnock at Tynecastle on October 29.

And, following a second disciplinary appearance at Hampden in a fortnight, Sergio has been handed a touchline suspension, beginning with Saturday’s match against Dundee United at Tannadice.

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