Interview: Hearts majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov
Hearts' controversial majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov has again described the Scottish football authorities as "the mafia".
Speaking after FBK Kaunas, of whom he is a founding member and sponsor, knocked Rangers out of Europe, he said Hearts could not win the league.
Romanov said: "The Scottish league is only an instrument in the hands of the mafia and they are working really well.
"It's nothing to do with the people, it's just the system," he added.
In recent months Romanov has spoke very little about Hearts.
In an increasingly rare interview last week, he said that the new manager at Tynecastle, Csaba Laszlo, had impressed him sufficiently to believe that he could now distance himself from first-team affairs.
But when asked by BBC Scotland's Jim Spence if the Kaunas victory over Rangers would give Hearts confidence in the coming season, Romanov said: "I don't think Hearts have a chance of winning the Scottish league.
"The main goal for Hearts is not winning the league; the main goal is to have young players playing and getting better.
"This might be the way for them to go to better teams."
In a remark similar to one he made about the Scottish press in September 2006, Romanov continued: "Forty years to come Rangers and Celtic will be leading in the Scottish Premier League, and they will be winning the league."
Two years ago he said of the newspapers: "What you're trying to do is protect an Old Firm duopoly for 40 more years and fool the fans.
"I want to call it an agreement against fair football in Scotland.
"I see now that it's not an accidental event, but a well-planned action with a purpose to destroy Hearts' players' mood."
Romanov showed little sympathy for Rangers' plight, suggesting the aggregate win in the previous round against Santa Coloma was better.
"We don't think it's the best result because before the games against Andorra (Santa Coloma) we had problems in the line-up, we had no strikers," he said.
"Of course, the result is perfect but we hope we can go further now.
"With such a budget, it's very sad for you (Rangers) to play only in the Scottish league."
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