Ex-Hearts skipper Steven Pressley on why coronavirus shutdown could do Scottish football more damage than any other European country

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STEVEN PRESSLEY reckons an over-reliance on gate receipts will force more Scottish Premiership sides into brutal cost-cutting measures during the coronavirus crisis.

The former Hearts captain has seen his former club outfit implement drastic measures already, with owner Ann Budge slashing wages for all full-time staff by 50 per cent and placing academy coaches who work fewer than 20 hours a week on unpaid leave.

Budge stated that the Jambos would not survive six months without the cuts in the current circumstances, while Aberdeen have warned of an impending £5 million black hole due to the ongoing football shut-down.

While Hearts have come under fire from some quarters, Pressley is adamant the skewed income stream in the top-flight makes the situation especially stark – and expects more clubs to make some tough calls in the coming weeks.

A study in January revealed that, as of 2018, a mammoth 43 per cent of revenue in the Premiership came from ticket sales. That figure is almost THREE TIMES the European average of 15 per cent.

“I’ve not been surprised by the situation at Hearts and I believe they will be one of many clubs that decide to go down this route,” said the former Celtic and Rangers stopper.

“Scotland is one of the leagues that is most dependent on gate receipts in Europe.

“Clubs in this country rely on gate receipts for more than 40 per cent of their income, whereas in France, Germany, Italy that is between 10 and 20 per cent.

“That is a huge difference and, when the games stop, the money become scarce quickly.

“Hearts have taken action quickly and it is really unpleasant, of course, but it doesn’t make Ann Budge’s decision wrong.

“I’ve read how Aberdeen are starting to really feel the pinch too. It’s no coincidence that Aberdeen and Hearts are two of the biggest supported clubs in Scotland and will feel that lack of income through the doors sharply.”

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