Evening Express

Hearts chief apologises to Cove after Jambos fielded ineligible player in League Cup game

Hearts owner Ann Budge

Hearts have apologised to Cove Rangers for fielding an ineligible player in Wednesday’s League Cup group stage match.

Andrew Iriving replaced Olly Lee in the 65th minute of the Jambos’ 2-1 win at the Balmoral Stadium.

But it has emerged that Iriving was not properly registered with the SFA and the Tynecastle will face an SPFL hearing panel on Monday, July 23 to discover if they will be punished for the mistake.

A statement from the club’s chief executive Ann Budge read: “It is with much embarrassment that we have to advise that during last night’s Betfred Cup group stage match away to Cove Rangers, Hearts inadvertently fielded an ineligible player.

“Due to an administrative error on the club’s part at the end of the January transfer window, Andrew Irving entered the field of play in the 65th minute as an unregistered player.

“Andrew was given an extension contract in January, 2018 and his extension paperwork was all properly completed and in order. However, it was not loaded onto the online SFA registration system at the time.

“His official registration, therefore, ran out on 9th June, 2018.  Unfortunately, this was not picked up in advance of last night’s game.

“While stringent processes are already in place to try to prevent something of this nature occurring, clearly mistakes can happen.  An additional step in our internal procedures will be implemented immediately to try to ensure this cannot happen again.

“The club would like to apologise to its supporters, to Cove Rangers Football Club and to the footballing authorities for this inadvertent breach of the rules.

“A hearing with an SPFL panel has been scheduled for Monday, July 23rd and will be attended by representatives of the club, where sanctions against Hearts will be determined. Until then, no further comment will be made.”