CEO Chris Robinson has agreed to sell his share in Heart of Midlothian FC to a Lithuanian businessman.
Robinson has accepted an offer of just over €1.25m for his 19.6 per cent stake in the club from Vladimir Romanov, and will sever all ties with the Scottish side once the deal is concluded on 8 December. Hearts supporters hope the Lithuanian's investment could prevent the sale of the club's 118-year-old Tynecastle stadium to property developers.
The Hearts board agreed to sell the stadium to Cala Management for €30m if they cannot find the funding to keep hold of it before January 2005. They are now hoping that Romanov, who was one of the founders of Lithuania's top team FBK Kaunas, can help keep the club at Tynecastle until a new stadium is built and avoid a move to Murrayfield, Edinburgh's rugby union stadium, next season.
Speaking from Portugal where Hearts are preparing for tonight's UEFA Cup first round second leg against SC Braga, chairman George Foulkes said: "If the conditions attached to the sale of Chris Robinson's shares are satisfied and the sale of his shares is subsequently completed and the sale of Tynecastle goes ahead, the club may be presented with a viable alternative to moving to Murrayfield."
Romanov, who has previously been in talks with Dundee FC, Dundee United FC and Dunfermline AFC, is a major shareholder in a company which has a holding in Lithuanian bank, Ukio Bankas. A spokesman for the businessman said: "We believe that in Hearts we have identified a highly attractive opportunity for investment."