Talks on Daniel Stendel's Hearts future wait as Ann Budge prioritises league reconstruction

German coach technically a free agent after enforced relegation

Tuesday, 19th May 2020, 1:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th May 2020, 1:22 pm
Hearts manager Daniel Stendel's future is unclear.

Talks between Hearts and manager Daniel Stendel will take place once owner Ann Budge is certain which league her team will play in next season.

The German is technically a free agent as his contract is no longer valid following the Edinburgh club's enforced relegation from the Scottish Premiership.

He is now in limbo waiting to learn if Hearts will occupy the top flight or second tier when football restarts. That depends on whether Budge succeeds with a league reconstruction proposal to expand the Premiership from 12 to 14 or even 16 teams.

Sign up to our Hearts newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Should she fail, she could then potentially take legal action against the Scottish Professional Football League over the decision to send Hearts down following the coronavirus outbreak.

The reconstruction issue is the priority above all else at Tynecastle Park at the moment and Stendel must await the outcome before discussions begin on his own future.

He and Budge initially planned to speak once the SPFL had officially called a halt to the 2019/20 campaign. Reconstruction seemed dead in the water last week but Budge is now working to try and revive it.

She would like a larger top division and feels no club should be penalised by the call to end the campaign prematurely. Stranraer and Partick Thistle have also been relegated and feel similarly let down.

Stendel’s Hearts contract runs until summer 2022 but is only valid for the Premiership. He has not ruled out continuing as manager but would need to engage in negotiations over a new deal and other terms and conditions if Hearts remain in the Championship.

The German is currently at home in Hannover awaiting the outcome of Budge’s push for a league restructure of some sort. He wants to see clarity on which division the club will play in to ensure talks on his future can be as straightforward as possible.

His coaching staff, assistant Jorg Sievers and coach Dale Tonge, are also waiting to learn their fate.

Stendel, 46, joined Hearts last December to replace Craig Levein, the former manager and director of football who was shunted into a background role by Budge.

The former Barnsley coach has had to work on scouting and recruitment due to the absence of a sports director at Riccarton and would like more support in those departments if he is to stay on.

A message from the Editor: Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you. In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper. Our journalists are highly-trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis. With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper. Thank you. Joy Yates, Editorial Director.