Steven Naismith agrees to 50 per cent wage cut – and vows not to walk away if Hearts are relegated


STEVEN NAISMITH insists he won’t walk away from Hearts if they are relegated to the Championship – as the Jambos captain agreed to a 50 per cent pay cut.

Jambos owner Ann Budge implemented severe cost-cutting measures last week, giving all full-time staff the unenviable choice between accepting their salaries being halved or requesting the termination of their contracts.

She also placed academy coaches who work less than 20 hours a week on unpaid leave for the foreseeable future after revealing the coronavirus shut-down of Scottish football has already cost the Edinburgh outfit £1 million.

Defender Clevid Dikamona has already exercised his right to walk away – albeit he only had two months left to run on his deal – and several other players are understood to be considering his options.

Head coach Daniel Stendel is foregoing his entire salary for the moment.

And Scotland internationalist Naismith has agreed to the terms and, having penned a four-year deal last summer, will remain a Hearts player even if they are playing their football in the second tier next term.

In a statement released on Sunday evening, Naismith said: “Like my team mates, I’ve been thinking a lot about the request from Hearts to reduce our wages by 50 per cent to help the club and protect as many jobs as possible during this uncertain period.

“The current circumstances put everyone in a very difficult position, but this isn’t a problem of Hearts’ making.

“I have discussed it at great length with my family. My family and I feel that, through a long career, football has been very good to us. Therefore, I personally feel that I can and should accept the 50 per cent reduction in wages.

“I hope this can contribute in some way to the long-term survival of the club at a challenging time and save jobs, especially those that are the lowest earners and hence those who will be struggling the most at this time.

“I know every one of my team-mates have unique circumstances with their finances, homes and families. I can assure everyone they are all doing what they can.

“As captain of Hearts, I will fully support my team-mates, whatever decision each of them makes on this matter.

“I am making a commitment to stay at Hearts, regardless of which league the club is in, next season and look forward to continuing to lead as captain. I consider it an honour to represent Hearts. I hope this can give some certainty in uncertain times.”