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Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Genk threaten Hearts over failed Beslija transfer

Darren Ennis

Hearts have refused to enter into a war of words with Racing Genk after the Belgian club threatened legal action over the collapse of Mirsad Beslija's transfer to Tynecastle.

The Belgian club announced last week that 26-year-old Beslija was due to join Hearts on a three-and-a-half-year deal, and a fee of 850,000 was widely reported.

The Bosnian spoke to Hearts and returned to his homeland to arrange a work permit, before the Edinburgh club this week announced they would not be signing Beslija.

Hearts claimed 'no financial agreement had been reached in relation to any potential signing of the player' and then brought in Lithuanian international Nerijus Barasa to fill the vacancy in their squad.

Genk insist they have a written agreement with Hearts, and sporting director Ariel Jacobs reportedly said: 'We have a contract with a signature on it but now all of a sudden Hearts don't want to pay.

'We are considering what action we will take next but we have all the evidence we need.'

However, a Hearts spokesman would only say today: 'We released a statement and we stick by it.'

The Belgian club's deputy general manager Erik Gerits claimed Hearts were trying to knock down the fee for Beslija.

'Hearts told us they accepted the agreement but then came back and said they only wanted to pay 800,000 euros,' he said.

'We said the agreement was for 1.2million euros but they said they didn't want to pay it.'

Meanwhile the club have moved to prevent possible disruption to a tribute to former chairman Wallace Mercer before the derby game against Hibernian on January 28.

Mercer, who died yesterday after a short battle with cancer aged 59, was unpopular among many Hibernian supporters after unsuccessfully trying to merge the club with Hearts in 1990.

There were fears that some of the Easter Road fans may try to disrupt a minute's silence in honour of Mercer.

To calm those fears, a silence will take place before the match against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Saturday, and in the Edinburgh derby the club will hold a minute's applause.

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