Hearts face second disciplinary hearing over salary delays
HEARTS will face a second Scottish Premier League disciplinary hearing in the space of three days tomorrow over their failure to pay the salaries of coaching staff and players on time.
The Tynecastle club were issued with a reprimand and warned with regard to future conduct yesterday after an SPL sub-committee considered their late payment of wages in September.
The same sub-committee, comprised of SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster, secretary Iain Blair and Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson, will now reconvene tomorrow to hear the same charge against Hearts for October.
The player registration embargo automatically imposed on Hearts last month will remain in place, while potential sanctions for the repeat offence include a fine or points deduction.
Doncaster last night insisted Hearts have been dealt with appropriately, insisting their repeated failure to pay wages on time last season could not be taken into account by the SPL whose new regulations on the issue only came into force during the summer. The SPL’s own inability to pay member clubs the full amount of sponsorship and broadcasting income due to them on time last month, in the wake of the financial uncertainty caused by Rangers’ departure from the top flight, was also admitted as a mitigating factor for Hearts.
“The sub-committee had to bear in mind this was a first offence for Hearts under new rules,” said Doncaster. “We had to treat Hearts exactly as we treat any other club with the set of facts under these new rules.
“However, we have a further hearing for this Wednesday in respect of a second charge. I can’t prejudge the outcome of that. The potential punishment for any breach of SPL rules is exactly the same. There is no criteria or tariff that’s applied, it’s exactly what any board or any sub-committee of the board thinks is appropriate. There are 18 separate sanctions identified within the rules and if a breach is proved on Wednesday then it will be up to the sub-committee of the board to decide what’s appropriate.
“It may be put forward that a fine is counter productive but it’s for Hearts to put forward whatever argument they see fit on Wednesday and rather than prejudge it now, we’ll see what’s said and consider the evidence fairly.
“Other people may point to history but that’s under a different set of rules. These are new rules the clubs brought in during the summer and we were obliged to treat Hearts as a first-time offender under these new rules in the same way we treat other clubs.
“We have to apply the rules fairly and evenly to all and I think that’s what we’ve done. People may judge us on whatever outcome comes forward but we have a further hearing on Wednesday so we’ll see what emerges from that. I’d expect a verdict on Wednesday.
“As is known, the league were unable to make the payment it was expected to make to all clubs - the second tranch of £300,000 - until fairly recently and that may have had an impact on clubs’ ability to pay the September wage roll.”
Hearts midfielder Darren Barr, co-incidentally in attendance at Hampden yesterday for a media promotion with SPL commercial partner Weatherseal, says he and his team-mates try to use the club’s off-the-field issues as a unifying force.
“It’s only going to bring us closer together in that aspect,” said Barr. “We just want to concentrate on football. We can only think about ourselves and what we do on the park. We’ve always done that, even in the past. Other things take care of themselves, so hopefully we can carry on talking about performances on the park.”
The SPL also held a general meeting of all 12 clubs yesterday, followed by a board meeting, with potential changes to their voting structure and ongoing league reconstruction proposals on the agenda. No conclusions were reached with a decision on altering the voting majority to 9-3 for all issues put back until next month.
“There remains a real appetite for reconstruction of the leagues and voting reform where it was agreed the members resolution would be deferred and considered again on November 19,” added Doncaster.
“We will come back round the table and discuss it again. There’s a perception that the voting regime is 11-1 but there’s very few matters that are 11-1 - the vast majority are 8-4, some are 10-2 and a few are 11-1. The motion put forward would make everything 9-3 but there will be further debate on that. It requires an 11-1 vote to get that through.
“It’s not for me to second guess why clubs feel the way they do but they felt today the right thing to do was to allow a time for further reflection and bring it back in November.
“Talks over reconstruction are ongoing, there is no particular progress to report on. It’s ongoing and it’s important it takes place with all stakeholders in the game and that we try and create a consensus.”
Search for a job
Search for a car
Search for a house
Weather for Edinburgh
Sunday 26 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 12 C
Wind Speed: 18 mph
Wind direction: South