Hearts And Hamilton Hit By Fraud

14 October 2017, 06:16

Police Scotland

Hamilton are facing one of the biggest crises in their history after falling victim to a major fraud.

Directors will have to bail out the Ladbrokes Premiership club after they lost a reported £750,000 to con artists.

In a statement, chairman Les Gray said: "Hamilton Academical FC have been the target of an elaborate fraud resulting in the loss of a substantial sum of monies."

Gray added that the club were working closely with Police Scotland and their bank amid a criminal investigation.

He added: "At this point it is imperative that we remain calm and work together as we go through one of the most difficult situations we have faced as a club.

"In the interim, the directors intend to inject funds to meet the club's ongoing obligations until the investigation is complete to ensure continuity.

"It is our intention to host a media briefing to go into more detail when the initial legal and banking investigations reveal the facts. This will allow us to give full disclosure of the event.

"No further comment will be made at this time as the police investigation continues."

The Scottish Professional Football League said that Accies had alerted them to the situation.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: "This is clearly a very serious and unfortunate situation and everyone in the game will hope it can be resolved quickly. We will be monitoring the situation closely and working in conjunction with Hamilton Academical in the days and weeks ahead."

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: "We can confirm a complaint has been received regarding a fraud and officers are currently carrying out enquiries into this matter."

The SPFL warned clubs to guard against online fraud in August after Annan failed to receive an £18,000 payment from the league at the end of last season. The funds had instead been paid into a fraudulent account and police launched an investigation after the money was retrieved.

Hamilton have the lowest budget of any club in Scotland's top flight and their average home attendance is about 2,500.

Fellow Scottish Premiership side Hearts later revealed they too had been the victim of fraud.

It is understood, however, that it was on a much smaller scale.

"Heart of Midlothian can confirm it was the subject of an internet fraud earlier this year," a statement read. "The matter is now part of an active police investigation and therefore no further comment will be made."

Hearts are understood to have lost around £80,000 to fraud.