Hearts avoid additional penalty

PA Sport
First-team players at Tynecastle have agreed to defer their wages
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First-team players at Tynecastle have agreed to defer their wages

Hearts will face no additional sanction from the Scottish Premier League after members of their first-team squad agreed to defer wages due this Friday.

Players deferring their wages is not considered a rule breach by the SPL. Instead, the action is a contractual amendment, so Hearts avoid further penalty. Following the failure to pay manager John McGlynn and the squad in full in September and October, the William Hill Scottish Cup winners were placed under a 60-day transfer embargo by the SPL.

The deferral was revealed on Tuesday night when Hearts announced they had been granted an extension, until December 3, to settle their debt of £449,692.04 to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs.

The Edinburgh club, whose agreement splits the payment, have also provided HMRC with assurances that future payments would be made in a "timeous manner".

Director Sergejus Fedotovas told BBC Scotland: "We've been able to produce the evidence of our ability to pay and we are very much confident it will be done on time."

The negotiation came after Hearts were on November 7 served with a winding-up petition and given eight days in which to pay what they owed, putting their future in severe danger. On the day the agreement with HMRC was announced, Hearts also declined a takeover offer from the Foundation of Hearts consortium, led by Edinburgh businessman Alex Mackie.

Fedotovas admitted bids would be considered and discussions on the possibility of future supporter ownership took place at Tynecastle on Wednesday with Supporters Direct Scotland's Paul Goodwin.

A Hearts spokesperson said on the club's official website: "We welcomed the opportunity to talk to Supporters Direct today and we expect further meetings in the future as we move towards a club owned and run by its supporter base.

"There is a lot of hard work ahead but the current share scheme and the fans' fund-raising efforts remain our priority while we establish a more stable financial position."

Supporters Direct is a government-backed organisation set up to promote fan ownership of football clubs.

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