Ann Budge has revealed that Scottish clubs have been told to prepare for no football until late July at the earliest.
On March 13 Scottish football’s Joint Response Group announced that the game was suspended until further notice. In England the announcement was initially until April 3 but that was put back to April 30 but that date looks incredibly unlikely.
Scottish clubs are more dependent on gate money than any other league in Europe with Neil Doncaster unable to nail down worthwhile broadcasting or sponsorship deals.
Hearts have been in the headlines for attempting to impose a 50% pay cut across the board but so far Steven Naismith is the only player to go public by agreeing to that reduction.
Spelling out the reality of the current situation Budge told the Hearts website:
In line with most other Clubs, we aim to hold sufficient cash reserves to cover 2-3 months of normal trading operations. The reason we are implementing cost control measures is because we could be facing up to 6 months of totally abnormal operations. Given that we all know we have to plan for that eventuality, I see absolutely no reason for sitting back and waiting either on a miracle or for the Government to bail out every company in the country….in a timely enough manner. Neither of these options is likely to happen and, therefore, I make no apology for putting immediate plans in place to mitigate the problems heading our way.
Later on she added:
On Monday, 16th March, I addressed a full gathering of players, coaches and back-room staff and explained the severity of the situation following the shut-down of football on 13th March. I explained the immediate/short-term implications in financial terms, and stressed that despite what was being said publicly, the consensus, among most people involved in running football clubs in Scotland, was that football was not likely to start again until late July/early August.
Hearts are currently four points behind Hamilton Accies at the bottom of the SPFL Premiership table with eight fixtures left to play.