HEARTS have asked all players and backroom staff to take a 50 per cent wage cut amid growing financial pressures at Tynecastle.
Several academy coaches were also been placed on unpaid leave on a dramatic afternoon at the club.
The news was broken to stunned staff on Wednesday as the harsh realities of Scottish football’s coronavirus crisis were laid bare.
Those unwilling to accept the measures will be offered a mutual termination of their contracts, leaving a host of employees considering their options.
It is feared the situation could become even more severe if Hearts are relegated from the top-flight, with the club facing up to their biggest financial challenge since emerging from administration in June 2014.
In a club statement, owner Ann Budge lamented ‘unprecedented and challenging times’ before confirming: “In order to try to prevent a staff redundancy programme and to protect as many jobs as possible, I am proposing to implement a Club-wide salary reduction programme.
“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, with the following caveats: No-one’s full-time salary will fall below the Living Wage. In other words, if the 50% reduction would take anyone’s salary below this threshold, the full-time salary will be set at £18,135.
“Given the uncertainty of the whole situation with which we have been presented, we cannot say how long these measures will be in place. We will, of course, be continuously reviewing the situation.
“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 revealed this week that the Scottish football shut-down had cost the Edinburgh club £1 million in expected revenue from upcoming home matches and the Scottish Cup semi-final against Hibernian.
Only a combined £9 million worth of donations from anonymous benefactors have stopped Hearts from posting a substantial loss in each of the last three financial years, resulting in somewhat deceptively positive accounts.
The Tynecastle Redevelopment Project, which entails the construction of the new main stand, is also expected to set the club back £22.5 million despite being initially costed at £12 million.
The impending handover of power to fans’ group Foundation of Hearts could also now be delayed.