HEARTS officials were attending Hampden Park today to mount a robust defence of their actions at the Scottish Premier League’s hearing into their charge of “failing to behave with the utmost good faith” towards the governing body.
Director Sergejus Fedotovas, managing director David Southern and the club’s legal team travelled to Glasgow preparing a strong argument for the SPL board after being charged because some players received wages a day late on January 17.
Hearts processed salaries on January 16, as stipulated by the SPL on January 4 at an adjudication prompted by a complaint from 14 Tynecastle players over continual wage delays. The club say they paid on time and therefore feel they have no case to answer.
They will point to the unavoidable time taken to transfer money from bank to bank as the sole reason for the delay. Officials in Lithuania processed wages for the Hearts squad on Monday, January 16, and Hearts will provide documentary evidence to prove this. They will also point out that players, in particular those who bank with foreign banks, can regularly endure a delay of a few hours receiving salaries because of the banking system.
Hearts are adamant that they satisfied every condition set out by the SPL at the adjudication and will vehemently deny any accusation that majority shareholder Vladimir Romanov is deliberately messing league officials around on this matter.
Hearts had asked the SPL to postpone the initial adjudication on January 4 to allow them to process outstanding salaries from December.
They were expecting funds from the sale of Eggert Jonsson to Wolverhampton Wanderers that day, but the SPL refused the request to postpone and ordered all wages and interest to be settled within seven days. They also said wages due on January 16 had to arrive on time.
Within a few hours of that ruling, Hearts paid all salaries up to date after receiving money from Wolves for Jonsson.
The SPL rulebook states that league officials can impose “unlimited sanctions” on Hearts because they have breached an official ruling. However, given the shortness of the delay, a censure or a suspended penalty is most likely.