The club are now likely to face a 15-point penalty when the new SPL season kicks off on Saturday, August 3.
The financially-stricken SPL club — with debts of around €29m — have lodged papers at the Court of Session in Edinburgh and are understood to have approached accountancy firm KPMG to act as their administrators. A club spokesman said: “We are not in administration yet but we have served our intention to appoint administrators.”
A number of the club’s creditors have been informed of the latest developments and sources close to Hearts expect a hearing to take place within the “next couple of days”.
The Jambos were faced with a winding-up order last week after Revenue and Customs threatened action over an unpaid £100,000 (€117,000) tax bill, although the majority of that sum has been paid.
But that was not the end of their troubles as the Tynecastle outfit were then hit with an immediate transfer embargo by the SPL after admitting they could not afford to pay their players.
The entire Jambos squad was put up for sale in a bid to raise the reported £500,000 needed to see the club through to the start of the new season.
The situation at the two Lithuanian companies which hold large stakes in the club has also increased fears for the future of the Edinburgh club. Majority shareholder UBIG — which owns a 50% stake in the club — and 29.9% shareholder Ukio Bankas were both once controlled by Vladimir Romanov but are now in the midst of being declared insolvent.
The Foundation of Hearts supporters’ group do hope to buy the club, with a formal bid expected to be lodged by the end of the month. There is also interest from other parties, including a Scandinavian consortium.