After a season of turmoil- starting with Rangers ouster and continuing through the recent restructuring fiasco- couldn’t the 2012-2013 Scottish Premier League just end quietly?
No, of course not.
Word comes today that the Lithuanian government has placed the investment company UBIG on a list of companies “unable to meet their obligations.” UBIG and its sister company Ukio Bankas (which is already bankrupt and owned by Hearts chairman Vladimir Romanov) own almost 80% of Hearts. Hearts owe a total of £25m to these two essentially defunct companies, and that’s where the problems begin.
In effect, if UBIG and Ukio Bankas cease to exist their creditors could come after Hearts because, with the “middle man” out of the picture, the club essentially owes that £25m to anyone who was owed money by UBIG and/or Ukio Bankas. I don’t know this for sure, but I’m going to guess that there isn’t an extra £25m hidden in the tea room at Tynecastle to pay this debt.
This would mean that Hearts would be insolvent, would be penalized 17 points, would fall into last place in the SPL table (no matter the outcome of their final match against Aberdeen), and be relegated from the SPL- at the very least. I suppose their is every chance that they could be dropped all the way to the Third Division just like Rangers were last year- “sporting integrity” and all that.
As maddening as this is on any number of levels, it might actually provide something resembling justice for Dundee F.C.. You may recall that Dundee were the “beneficiaries” of Rangers ouster from the SPL last year, i.e., they were unexpectedly promoted to the SPL despite finishing 1038 points behind Ross County in the First Division. Unfortunately, their promotion came so late in the game that they had already begun preparations for another season in the First Division, e.g., freed up cash by not re-signing their best player (Farid El Alagui was actually voted the SFL’s best player!) and as a result, essentially entered the SPL season with little chance of survival.
And yet, after bringing in manager John “Bomber” Brown in February, they actually made a run at avoiding relegation. Though they weren’t successful, they may come within 5 points of it on their own merits when all is said and done, so to see them stay up- even at the expense of a club as storied as Hearts- wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
Still, I’m sick of this…