Hearts players asked to slash wages by 50% due to virus woes

Soccer
Soccer

Hearts have asked their players and staff to accept their pay being cut by half in order to stave off troubles brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the Scottish Premiership club said Wednesday.

Owner Ann Budge has taken the drastic cost-cutting measure amid financial fears that football will be out of action for months due to the pandemic.

Currently sitting bottom of the Premiership, Hearts are the first British top-flight club to decide on wage cuts in a bid to stay afloat.

"We have asked all full-time employees, managers, coaches, players and player back-room staff, with effect from the beginning of April, to accept a 50% cut in their monthly salary," Budge told Hearts' website.

"Staff and players alike, who feel unable or unwilling to accept this revision to their contracts, will, of course, be offered the option of contract termination."

Budge stated earlier this week her club would lose £1 million in income from postponed games over the coming weeks.

Four remaining home league games, plus a Scottish Cup semi-final against Hibernian at Hampden Park, would have earned the Edinburgh side a seven-figure sum.

Hearts staff have been told they will receive their salaries as normal next week, while players will receive their pay at the end of the month.

The club insists that no-one's pay will fall below the United Kingdom's National Living Wage, the lowest rate of pay for workers aged 25 and over.

"Given the uncertainty of the whole situation with which we have been presented, we cannot say how long these measures will be in place," Budge added.

Budge explained the dire situation was the result of the unprecedented virus mayhem, which she said could stop play until August.

"The Scottish FA has now suspended football for the foreseeable future and, whilst there is no specified end date to this, it is most likely that the game will not resume until July/early August at the earliest," she said.

"This reduction in income is not sustainable without taking immediate action to cut staff costs and overheads."

Hearts' shock measures came on the day Scottish Football Association president Rod Petrie announced an immediate £1.5 million fund to help clubs and academies.

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster had previously warned of "dire financial consequences" for Scottish clubs if they were unable to generate money from ticket sales.

"I am pleased to announce the immediate cash payments to members of Club Licensing and Club Academy Scotland amounts which were budgeted to be paid later this year," Petrie said.

"The combined amount forward funded in this way is approximately £1.5m, which we believe will be of great support to clubs who face uncertainty and, worse still, a significant loss of revenue as a result of the impact of coronavirus in Scotland."

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