Hearts: No player asked to take more than 30% cut - Ann Budge

Hearts captain Steven Naismith, centre, will take a 50% wage cut
Hearts captain Steven Naismith, centre, will take a 50% wage cut

Hearts plan to put all their players on furlough leave, but none have been asked to take more than a 30% wage cut, says chairman Ann Budge.

PFA Scotland became involved after the Scottish Premiership club gave the squad until Wednesday to respond to a request they accept a 50% pay cut.

Hearts - like any other club - could have invoked contract clause 12 and suspended salaries had they refused.

But Budge says "a number of players have agreed to our proposed terms".

Captain Steven Naismith earlier said publicly he would accept a 50% reduction, while manager Daniel Stendel has waived his salary and defender Clevid Dikamona exercised the right to cancel his contract.

Budge confirmed that Naismith had maintained that stance and revealed that "one of our younger players is refusing to take any wages at all over this period".

She added: "I would like to make it clear that no employee, whether furloughed or working, at any level in the club has been asked to take a 50% cut. The majority of cuts fall below 30%.

"Some employees have very kindly offered to take larger cuts or in some cases to forgo their salaries entirely."

Hearts confirmed on Wednesday that "the majority of non-football employees" had been placed on furlough leave.

And Budge said talks continue with the squad and that they "thank every player" for their support.

Last week, the Hearts chairman said Scottish 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.

In her statement, she explained why she believed temporary cuts - rather than wage deferrals - were necessary, citing Hearts' payment of higher basic wages and the fact the club are on the cusp of becoming fan-owned.

"I have a legal obligation to transfer majority ownership to the fans and I also have a moral obligation not to burden the club with football debt, that can never be written off," Budge said.

"At this point in time we believe that asking for wage cuts is the most appropriate way to safeguard the club. We also believe it is morally the right thing to do when everyone on the planet is faced with making sacrifices."

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