Hearts owner outlines club’s stance on potential relegation


Hearts owner Ann Budge has confirmed that the club will take legal action should the SPFL deem that the current standings be declared as the end of season.

Scottish football is facing having all four divisions curtailed due to the spread of coronavirus after football was suspended indefinitely by the Scottish FA and SPFL Joint Response Group last Friday.

And with Hearts four points adrift of Hamilton at the bottom of the Premiership with eight games left, the Gorgie side could be relegated by the football authorities if it is decided the remaining games cannot be fulfilled.

However, Budge has made it clear that that the Edinburgh club would take action though the courts.

Asked by Sky Sports whether she would launch legal proceedings if Hearts were relegated, Budge replied: “Yes, I would have to because I fundamentally disagree with it.

“It depends on how you read the rules, and I don’t read the rules that way.

“I’ve already made my position known – in a non-confrontational manner I’d like to say – but I have put my arguments over.

“Because there are so many options it’s difficult to sit here and say: ‘well I would do this, I would do that’.

“I am not of a view that it’s a reasonable thing to do, nor can I see who would benefit. How does that help anybody?

“In a situation where we’re all confronting issues that nobody ever imagined we’d have to confront, who benefits? I just can’t get my head around it.”

Although Budge would prefer a scenario that would see the season being completed, the Hearts majority shareholders insists clubs cannot be expected to agree that the current placings are deemed final.

She added: “It is was at all possible to finish the season, that’s the easier, most sensible things to do. 

“Albeit, again it means that club’s don’t get paid out in the normal manner.

“I’d love to be able to finish the season but if we can’t then I think we need to be pragmatic about it and take a view on premature ending. 

“I think if the season was deemed to be ended then you have to go back to the rules and the rules very, very clearly state that the competition comprises 38 games.

“Clearly we all know that we have not played 38 games so I don’t think it’s as simple as somebody can say ‘let’s just deem everything to be as it is and take it from there’. I don’t think that’s reasonable.”

The Hearts players, meanwhile, are no longer taking part in full squad training sessions at the club’s Oriam base.

Instead, small groups will undertake gym sessions at the national performance centre twice a week, while players have also been given tailored fitness programmes to adhere to in their own time.