Hearts players seek legal advice over contract clause stating wages can be suspended

Squad aware of small print which could stop wages

By Barry Anderson
Thursday, 19th March 2020, 4:32 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th March 2020, 4:56 pm
Players at Tynecastle were asked to take a 50 per cent wage cut.
Players at Tynecastle were asked to take a 50 per cent wage cut.

Hearts players and others across Scotland are seeking legal advice over a contract clause which states their wages could be suspended immediately.

The Tynecastle Park squad are concerned that the club could stop paying them altogether after being asked to take a 50 per cent cut because of the coronavirus impact.

Football in Scotland is suspended indefinitely due to the global pandemic and players are now worried about small print in their agreements.

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Some members of the Hearts squad have contacted lawyers and PFA Scotland for advice on the matter, with others at fellow clubs now doing likewise.

All contracts in Scotland are ratified by the game’s authorities and include the following clause: “In the event of the Scottish FA deciding that the game shall be suspended, either entirely or in any district or district as provided for in the articles of association of the Scottish FA, this agreement shall be correspondingly suspended, unless the club is exempted from such suspension or thte club otherwise determines.”

That leaves every player in the country vulnerable with no indication of when matches will resume. Hearts asked all full-time employees to accept a 50 per cent drop in income earlier this week due the financial impact of coronavirus. That plan is that their money would revent to normal once football returns.

Players are now mulling over their positions and consulting those in the know about how to proceeed. If they don’t wish to accept the 50 per cent reduction, the club are willing to rip up their agreements and let them leave for free.

Owner Ann Budge revealed earlier this week that the suspension of football will cost Hearts £1m in lost revenue over the next month. She asked staff to reduce their salaries to help the club cope.

Several other teams across Scotland have already appealed to supporters for any possible donations in a bid to minimise the impact of postponed games. No club has so far looked to invoke the clause to suspend wages altogether, but players fear that move might happen after a sustained period without matches.