Hearts hit with transfer embargo after going into administration

The ban will run until February next year

Hearts have been issued with a new registration embargo for going into administration.

A Scottish Football Association judicial panel has imposed a ban on the club signing new players aged 21 and over until February 1 next year.

The club cannot sign any player at the moment because of an automatic registration embargo which kicked in when they went into administration on June 19 under what were then Scottish Premier League rules.

Hearts, whose true debt was yesterday revealed as almost £29million, have escaped a monetary punishment.

But their extended transfer ban will be a blow to manager Gary Locke, who only has two outfield players aged over 21.

Hearts were also hit with an automatic 15-point penalty in June and Locke will be unable to immediately bring in experienced players if the club exits administration before the end of the January transfer window.

Joint-administrator Trevor Birch, who attended the judicial panel hearing at Hampden, was disappointed with the added sanction.

In a statement, he said: "The decision to impose a transfer embargo on players over 21 until the end of January is disappointing.

"Whilst I appreciate that the SFA rules state that clubs in administration will face sanctions, Hearts have already had a points deduction and player embargo - and it feels like we're being penalised twice.

"That said, these are the cards that we've been dealt and we'll now just have to get on with it.

"At least the decision gives us clarity and means that the bidders can move forward and focus their attention on refining their proposals rather than worrying about possible sanctions."

PA

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