Wishart urges Hearts to act on pay saga

Fraser Wishart
Fraser Wishart
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PFA SCOTLAND chief executive Fraser Wishart has urged Hearts to pay their players’ December wages in the next 15 days in order to avoid sanction from the SPL.

After their October and November payments were 19 days and one month overdue respectively, over a dozen disenchanted first-team players put their signatures to a letter of complaint last week. It was lodged on Friday evening when it became clear that this month’s wages had not been paid by the designated date of the 16th and the SPL board subsequently discussed the situation at a pre-arranged meeting yesterday.

The SPL, who had previously claimed they were powerless to intervene until a complaint had been received, decided that a ruling would be made on Wednesday, January 4, although Wishart confirmed that the complaint would be dropped if the wages are received in the intervening period.

“Our members are delighted that the SPL will adjudicate upon their complaint early in the New Year,” the PFA Scotland chief said in a statement. “It is clear that the SPL Board agrees that, unlike other contractual issues, this is not a matter that can take some time to deal with as our members continue to play without their December salary.

“It is our hope that the directors of Heart of Midlothian FC are able to source funding to pay the wages immediately and the complaint can be withdrawn as this is the only aim of our members’ action.”

SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster insists the complaint has been bracketed in the “serious” category. He said: “We had a board meeting already scheduled so the board considered the complaint and agreed to adjudicate on January 4, which will give time for all parties to make any representations that they wish to make.

“What is important now that this is a live legal issue, it is sub-judice and until the hearing we are limited in what we can say. It is clearly an issue that is being taken seriously by the SPL board.”

Meanwhile, almost 3000 tickets have been sold for the Hearts end for the New Year Derby at Easter Road on January 2, meaning there are less than 1000 briefs remaining for the visitors. To apply for tickets, Hearts supporters should visit www.hibernianfc.co.uk and download and complete the application form. All application forms are to be received by Hibs by 5.00pm on Wednesday, December 28.