The Heart of Midlothian board of directors have launched a bizarre attack on outside influences affecting their players and vowed to stop ‘football patriots’ manipulating the Scottish game.
A statement released on the club’s official website claims that ‘a mafia’ of crooks, criminals and thieves are dragging young players away from the game.
In an astonishing attack, the mafia are also accused of being impossible to separate from paedophiles and claims that Hearts' poor end of season form was down to problems being shifted to another level.
Amongst those mentioned in the club statement include the Scottish media, the SFA and former club captain Gary Mackay who is accused of being ‘vicious’ in his attacks against chairman Vladimir Romanov.
The attack comes just hours after a statement confirming that defender Craig Thomson - who recently admitted sexual offences concerning two young girls – would not be sacked by the club.
Hearts have stated that they were unhappy with the way the case was dealt with in the Scottish media and appeared to renew that opinion by saying "The task of the club is to tear these kids out of hands of criminals."
Statement in full:
"What's happening with the club today is not a new thing. For almost 7 years we have been fighting to shield the club from crooks, criminals and thieves. Many of the top players at the club have felt the bitter results of the swindles that have been carried out with them on their own skin. Skacel and Webster have returned to the club after realising where these 'football patriots' have led them.
"Over a short space of time 4 players at our club have been on the wrong end of the law. We note that 3 of them are represented by the same agent - Gary Mackay - who has been so vicious in his attacks against Mr Romanov.
"Taking into account the facts that have been omitted by the media it can be presumed that each of these cases is not a coincidence, but the result of targeted actions of a mafia that wants to manipulate the club and the results.
"Every year Hearts fights to be in the top 3, but even last season in the last 12 games of the season it was almost like someone replaced the team with a different one. Whose fault is that? Players? Manager's? Or it is mafia.
"Stealing players, bad games, problems with the law - all of that on top of record SFA fines. Problems are just shifted to another level.
"Mafia are dragging kids into the crime, in order to blackmail and profit on them. It is not possible to separate these people from pedophiles, and you don't need to do that. Each year we are forced to fight against these maniacs harder and harder. We are standing in their way not letting them manipulate the game of football in the way they want. As such they undermine us in every possible way they can.
"The task of the club is to tear these kids out of hands of criminals."
Latest from Tynecastle