Hearts players still unpaid as salary delays resurface

HEARTS have insisted they are working to resolve the delayed payment of player salaries after the issue resurfaced at the Edinburgh club.

HEARTS have insisted they are working to resolve the delayed payment of player salaries after the issue resurfaced at the Edinburgh club.

A number of Hearts’ top earners were left awaiting their wages, which had been due today, as last season’s problems of paying salaries on time returned.

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It is understood the matter remained unresolved at close of business last night.

A statement on Hearts’ official website read: “Hearts today confirmed that the vast majority of its 45-man squad had been paid their salaries in full.

“A small number of senior players were unpaid but will be paid shortly. The club has informed the affected players.”

Five senior members of the Tynecastle playing staff are believed to have been informed that their salary may be late, including club captain Marius Zaliukas, Scotland defender Andy Webster and winger Andrew Driver.

Hearts enjoyed a glamour Europa League tie with Liverpool last month but they, like all the other Clydesdale Bank Premier League clubs, are awaiting the latest instalment of television revenue amounting to £300,000 per club.

Clubs are now governed by the set of financial fair play rules which were introduced in May, but should Hearts be subject to any sanctions as a result of the latest delay, they will counter vigorously with the argument that it has been caused by the SPL itself.

A Hearts spokesperson added: “We have apologised to the small number of players affected by this short-term delay to their wage payments and we are grateful for their understanding on the matter.

“We expect the matter to be resolved once we receive a guaranteed income expected in the very near future.”

Last season, during three successive months of delayed player wages, the players’ union, PFA Scotland, investigated whether the players were entitled to walk out. On that occasion, a mass exodus was averted when salaries arrived in the players’ accounts.

However, a subsequent delay prompted an official complaint from the players, via PFA Scotland, to the Scottish Premier League. Again, action was averted in January after Hearts met the demands imposed. The club was able to prove that the money had been lodged by the due date, but the players received it late due to a delay in the banking process.

However, the issue reared its ugly head again in March, when players and staff received their salaries 12 days late.

Hearts attributed some of last term’s delays to logistics transferring the funds from Lithuania, where majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov is based.

The issue was believed to be a contributory factor in midfield star Ryan Stevenson refusing to play for Hearts last season, and the player was sold to Ipswich Town during the January transfer window. Stevenson recently returned to Tynecastle and has played in Hearts’ last two fixtures.