Hibernian chief Leeann Dempster calls for coronavirus clarity

By Kheredine IdessaneBBC Scotland
Easter Road general view
No football will be played at Easter Road until May at the earliest

The offer of wage subsidies are "welcome" but football bosses must ensure money comes to Scotland quickly, says Hibernian chief executive Leeann Dempster.

The government is to pay 80% of salary for staff unable to work, covering wages of up to £2,500 a month.

Last week, Hearts owner Ann Budge asked players and staff to take a 50% wage cut amid financial fears.

"It's welcome for everyone - football included," Dempster told BBC Scotland.

"Even with decent reserves in the bank, no money coming in only does one thing and that's never good."

It is not yet clear how the wage subsidy will impact Scottish football, but Budge has already contacted Hearts club staff to inform them she hopes to review the offer of wage cuts when more detail on Chancellor Rishi Sunak's pledge becomes available.

With British football suspended until May at the very earliest, and many Scottish clubs worried about staying afloat, Dempster believes any positive news should be grasped with both hands.

"I feel for everyone at the moment," said the Easter Road chief executive. "We, all of us, needed some good news and this is certainly good news.

"The issue I have is that declarations from London at the moment are taking their time to filter through because the Scottish Government needs a process.

"We are all just assuming rates relief is there as well as some of the other measures. But until we get that in totality from Edinburgh, I can't bank on it. I've made this known in the strongest terms and the Scottish Professional Football League is now taking action."

When asked on BBC Scotland's Sportsound, PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart hoped his members could benefit from the scheme.

"The devil is in the detail," he added.

"If they are talking about employers which clubs are, and employees which players are, and the clubs want to keep them and the players are unable to work, it seems to me they do meet the criteria.

"We will speak to our experts in the coming weeks and see what happens. It's great clubs are looking at it and it's great we have another avenue to perhaps help us through this awful situation."

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