'I'm not panicking yet' - Ann Budge on reports of Hearts being relegated

The Hearts chairman confirms the club will seek legal action if demoted to the Championship without finishing the season

Ann Budge has reiterated Hearts’ plans to seek legal advice if the club are relegated to the Championship.

Yet, despite newspaper reports that the SPFL are set to finish the Ladbrokes Premiership as is, she is “not panicking quite yet”.

There is still little clarity as to how and when, if at all, the current season will be played to conclusion.

Ann Budge has told the SPFL, Hearts will seek legal advice if the club are relegated. Picture: SNS

It has been reported that the SPFL are keen to draw a line under the 2019/2020 campaign. Although Uefa have advised leagues against taking such action and European places could be at threat.

A letter from Uefa, the European Club Association and European leagues, warned: “Abandoning domestic competitions is, at this stage, premature and not justified”.

Budge has confirmed that she has made the SPFL aware of her plans to seek legal advice if the decision is made to relegate Hearts to the Championship despite there being eight games to play and 24 points up for grabs.

The club sit bottom of the table, four points behind Hamilton Academical.

“I will seek legal advice”, she told the BBC. “I haven’t at the minute because no decision has been made.

“I made it very clear to the SPFL that if they did go down this route there are a number of areas I’d be contesting. We have had no further conversations about that over the last two or three weeks but I did read one of the media headlines this morning that again it seems to be that we’re going to be relegated. You’ll forgive my cynicism, I’m not panicking quite yet.

“We have a series of calls more or less on a weekly basis. There are a number of calls scheduled for Wednesday of next week.”

Former Hearts midfielder Michael Stewart made his feelings clear, calling for the SPFL not to take such a decision.

He tweeted: “Finishing the season and relegating Hearts now when so many things remain unknown would be a dereliction of duty from the SPFL.

“There are options that need to be explored. This would lead to all sorts of costly litigation at a time when we should be pulling together.”

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