Majority of Hearts squad agree wage cuts to avoid contracts being suspended

At least two players are still negotiating with the club hierarchy

The majority of Hearts players have finally agreed to wage cuts at Tynecastle Park.

The majority of Hearts players have agreed to wage cuts of between 10 and 30 per cent, the Evening News can reveal.

At least two are still negotiating with club owner Ann Budge as she tries to cuts costs to mitigate financial strain brought by coronavirus.

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Around 10 players had still to agree to salary reductions as of this morning, but most of those have since opted to accept Budge’s proposals rather than see their contracts suspended.

Those who have yet to reach an agreement could push to be released from their deals and become free agents.

Budge had stated she was prepared to activate Clause 12 in player contracts and suspend wages for anyone who did not accept a drop in pay.

She gave a 5pm deadline today for concluding negotiations to ensure everyone who agreed would receive their new reduced amounts when monthly wages reach bank accounts on Thursday.

Some players had pressed to defer a portion of money to avoid cuts but Budge stated on Friday that deferrals were “simply not an option” for Hearts.

She wrote to every player asking them to accept the reductions and made it clear that deferrals would leave Hearts in debt – something she is steadfastly against.

“I outlined the rationale and also explained why a deferral is simply not an option for the club. To reiterate, I cannot – and will not, in good conscience – leave the club in a position again where football debt is left as a ‘legacy’ for those who follow,” she said.

With no matches and no income since football was indefinitely shut down on March 13, Hearts are taking action to ensure they survive the impending financial crisis.

They carry a first-team squad of more than 30 players with one of the largest wage bills in Scottish football outwith Celtic and Rangers.

Manager Daniel Stendel is working without a wage and captain Steven Naismith took a 50 per cent reduction last month. Defender Clevid Dikamona agreed to terminate his agreement and left Scotland four weeks ago.

With the majority now accepting less money, the Edinburgh club are financially better placed to take the ongoing football shutdown with most of their playing staff intact.

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