Hearts 'working diligently' on alternative to suspension of contracts

Hearts owner Ann Budge
Hearts owner Ann Budge says her email to players was sent to protect the club's rights

Hearts owner Ann Budge says players will continue to be paid in full until the end of March but has told them the club has the right to suspend salaries in the future.

Budge has written to the Tynecastle playing squad explaining a clause that allows contracts to be frozen.

However, she stresses that the club are "working diligently to find an alternative solution".

Staff have been asked to take a drop in salary of up to 50%.

Captain Steven Naismith has accepted the cut, while manager Daniel Stendel has waived his wages entirely during football's coronavirus shutdown.

  • Clause 12 in players contracts in Scotland states: "In the event of the Scottish FA deciding that the game shall be suspended, either entirely or in any district or districts as provided for in the articles of association of the Scottish FA, this agreement shall be correspondingly suspended, unless the club is exempted from such suspension or the club otherwise determines."

On Friday, Budge said Scottish football clubs "could be facing up to six months of totally abnormal operations" and revealed that an approach to their bank for additional funds had been unsuccessful.

Later in the evening, she released another statement in response to reportsexternal-link Hearts players had been told wages would be suspended if they did not accept a pay cut.

She said: "The club feels it is necessary to clarify, once again, that contrary to a report in the media no 'warning' has been made to our players in regard to agreeing to wage cuts or Clause 12 being invoked.

"A letter was sent to the squad, on the advice of the SPFL and its legal advisors, in order to protect the club's rights. The covering email that accompanied the letter very clearly stated that:

"We have not, at this time, decided to exercise this right and are working diligently to find an alternative solution to the unprecedented financial problems facing the club as a consequence of the suspension of the game.

"As previously intimated we plan to pay full salaries as normal until the end of March. However, in doing so, we need to make it very clear that we do not waive our right to suspend player agreements in the future, should we require to do so to safeguard the future of the club.

"Hearts continue to have regular open dialogue with players and are all working together to get through this incredibly difficult time."

Accept it or move on?

Gary Locke, club ambassador for Hearts, on BBC Scotland's Off The Ball

There won't be a club in Scotland that's able to pay full salary while we're in lockdown.

Fortunately for us, the boss (Budge) has had the sense to get out in front of it so everyone knows what's happening.

The boys will probably have to accept it or they'll have to move on. You're better getting something than not getting anything after all. That sounds like a sensible decision for most because we don't know when we will get back to playing again.

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