PFA SCOTLAND officials were due to visit Riccarton today to gather signatures from Hearts players for a formal complaint to the Scottish Premier League over non-payment of wages.
Players’ union representatives intend to lodge an official protest within the next 24 hours, although Hearts’ majority shareholder, Vladimir Romanov, has threatened to make matters worse for any players who put their name to such a document.
Through senior members of the dressingroom, Romanov has let it be known that anyone involved in what he regards as mutiny would have their life made even more difficult. He has not been specific over what action would be taken.
Hearts players are still awaiting wages due on October 16 and PFA Scotland is now ready to act. Senior officials at Tynecastle have informed squad members that they have no idea when wages will arrive.
Players have also been told they are welcome to find new clubs and that all transfer offers will be considered. However, there could be a legal argument over whether Hearts are entitled to fees for players whose contracts have been breached because of missing salaries.
It is expected that more than a dozen players will sign the formal complaint, although some are likely to refuse for fear of retribution from above. Players are reluctant to go against their club but many feel they have no choice given the delay in payment, with some having already defaulted on direct debit agreements with their banks.
Some players are now actively seeking moves away from Tynecastle but the club’s parent company, Ukio Bankas Investment Group, remains adamant that funds will be provided to cover the shortfall.
Meanwhile, Hearts were due in the Court of Session today with a winding-up order having been served over an unpaid tax bill, but the Evening News has learned this was settled over a week ago.
Paulo Sergio, the Hearts manager, is facing punishment from the SFA today over comments about referee Iain Brines, with his sanction likely to involve a touchline ban and fine.