LONDON (Reuters) - Hearts will have to sell their best players to ensure their survival over the next couple of months, the cash-strapped Scottish Premier League football club said on Thursday.
The Edinburgh club has lurched from one crisis to another over the past few months, suffering fallout from the financial problems of Lithuanian businessman Vladimir Romanov, their largest shareholder.
"The club will consider offers for the players of the current squad, including the most promising talent in order for the most necessary and important payments to be made," Hearts said in a statement on their website (www.heartsfc.co.uk).
Hearts, established in 1874, are hoping that a new owner will come in if they can stablise operations over the lean summer months when the club has no matchday income to fall back on.
"Provided we can achieve security for the club, it is the view of the board that there is a viable strategy for the change of ownership to a willing buyer or investor," the club added.
Scottish football, long a poor relation compared to the riches on offer in the English Premier League, suffered a blow last year when 54-times champions Rangers collapsed and had to relaunch from the fourth tier.
Scotland's 42 clubs plan to form a new league next season to ensure a more even distribution of their limited revenues, with playoffs introduced to try to boost interest.
Writing by Keith Weir, editing by Ed Osmond