Football - UPDATE 1-Soccer-Hearts hit by transfer embargo over unpaid bonus

(Adds extension of transfer embargo)


LONDON, Dec 20 (Reuters) - Hearts will be banned from buying players during the January window after the Scottish Premier League (SPL) extended a transfer embargo following the club's failure to pay bonuses to their squad.

The club announced earlier that they had raised more than 1 million pounds ($1.6 million) by selling shares to their fans. But this amount was some way short of the target and they warned supporters the club's financial crisis was far from over.

Hearts also informed the SPL that it had not paid a number of bonuses and appearance payments.

The SPL said in a statement it had therefore decided to extend a so-called remuneration default which means Hearts are unable to sign players until "the SPL Board is satisfied that the remuneration default no longer continues".

Hearts must also attend a disciplinary hearing at a date yet to be fixed. The Edinburgh club, ninth in the 12-club league, said they were consulting with their legal advisers.

The existing 60-day ban, due to run out on Dec. 23, was imposed in October following late salary payments to players.

Lithuanian businessman Vladimir Romanov is the largest shareholders in Hearts who have debts of around 24 million pounds. Earlier this month the club agreed to pay 1.5 million pounds over the next three years to settle a tax dispute.

Hearts also cleared a separate tax bill of 450,000 pounds which lifted the immediate threat of liquidation.

Rangers, who have been champions 54 times, collapsed under their debts this year and were demoted to the fourth tier in Scotland. This week Rangers raised 22 million pounds via a listing on the stock market. (Reporting by Robert Woodward, editing by Alan Baldwin)

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