The board of the Foundation has decided that the transfer of the majority shareholding of Heart of Midlothian from BidCo to the Foundation should be temporarily postponed given the current public health situation.

In an email to all pledgers, chairman Stuart Wallace wrote:

“As we all know, the current situation at Hearts and across the footballing world is critical. With very little income and little prospect of that position being reversed any time soon, we have seen the prompt action which Ann Budge took to try to address the challenges and keep the club functioning. Hearts may have been the first to go public with such a tough announcement; it will not be the last, as news from clubs as diverse as Aberdeen, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Leeds United has demonstrated over the last few days.

“Given the troubled situation, the board of the Foundation of Hearts has taken the decision that this is not the time to be adding any further potential disruption by pushing forward with the handover of the majority shareholding. All parties remain totally committed to fan ownership and this handover will, of course, still happen, but such an historic event must be conducted at a more settled time – a time when the handover enables the club to proceed seamlessly with its business and a time when we can properly celebrate the achievement of the fans in reaching this milestone. Sadly, this is not a time when any of us, we believe, has the inclination for a celebration, however well merited.”

He also updated pledgers on an increase in supporters joining the Foundation, saying:

“On a related front, I am delighted to let you know that despite the current public health crisis and the impact that is having on all our lives, we have had almost 100 new or upgraded pledges over the past week alone. This is absolutely astonishing and demonstrates, if that were needed, just how passionate and committed Hearts fans are to our club. This email comes, too, on the day that the total pledges broke through the £10 million figure, which is quite incredible.

“We talk often about the fans being the very lifeblood of this great club, the one true constant when so much has threatened our very existence. This continues to be proven right now at another very difficult period for Hearts and for the supporters. Once again, you, the fans, have stepped up. You continue to pledge, and every month your pledges go directly from us into the club’s bank account. What is more, as mentioned above, more supporters have continued to join what is the most successful fan movement of its kind in British footballing history.

“The footballing world is experiencing huge changes right now and how things will move forward remains uncertain. One thing is clear, however. Hearts fans will be there for our club and will continue to provide the financial support – through the pledges – which is absolutely crucial to Hearts’ economic wellbeing.

“We and the club cannot thank you enough.”