Hearts: Scottish Premiership club confirm player wage cuts

By Brian McLauchlinBBC Scotland
Hearts' players have agreed cuts of between 10% and 30%
Hearts' players have agreed cuts of between 10% and 30%

Hearts have confirmed they have reached agreement with players over wage cuts.

Chair Ann Budge asked the squad to agree to reductions - first proposed weeks ago - of between 10% and 30%.

She had warned suspending contracts - using clause 12 of their deals - was "the only viable alternative" if they did not accept lowered salaries.

"We are delighted to have reached an agreement on temporary salary changes with the entire playing squad," Hearts said in a statement.external-link

"This agreement is essential to help the club manage the impact of COVID-19 on Scottish football, which has seen the suspension of our game.

"This commitment from all of our players, backroom team and off-field staff, which will to help maintain the long-term sustainability of the club, is hugely appreciated and we thank everyone for their continued support.

"The majority of the squad are on furlough leave, with a couple of exceptions due to ongoing treatment for injury, and will continue to maintain their fitness at home."

The talks were complicated by contractual issues, such as relegation clauses, while PFA Scotland proposed deferrals instead of cuts - something Budge insisted was "simply not an option".

Hearts captain Steven Naismith said publicly he will accept a 50% pay cut, while manager Daniel Stendel has forgone his salary and defender Clevid Dikamona has cancelled his contract.

Budge indicated the continuing uncertainty over when Scottish football will resume from the coronavirus-enforced hiatus - and whether it will be behind closed doors - left her little choice.

"I wish there was an option other than a temporary wage cut, but it is the only way for the club to proceed with financial certainty," she said last month.

"I cannot - and will not, in good conscience - leave the club in a position again where football debt is left as a legacy for those who follow."

Hearts face relegation from Scotland's top flight if the Scottish Professional Football League exercises its right to curtail the Premiership season after clubs passed a resolution to end the lower leagues.

However, they may get a reprieve if a 14-14-14 or 14-14-16 model for league reconstruction is approved, as all 12 current top-flight clubs would remain in an expanded Premiership.

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