Hearts have six days to comply to the remaining demands of the Scottish Premier League or face disciplinary action and unlimited sanctions after paying their players' overdue December wages on Wednesday night.
Hours after the SPL had met and announced demands with a January 11 deadline, Hearts declared December's wages had been paid. The Edinburgh club insisted the timing was merely a coincidence.
A statement on the club's official website, www.heartsfc.co.uk read: "Hearts will carefully consider today's [Wednesday] SPL judication into the matter of late payment of players' wages and will decide on the course of further action."
The statement continued: "Meanwhile, the club has today [Wednesday] received funds and has paid the outstanding players' wages for December. The payment is the result of successful business conducted by the club and it is coincidental that this has happened on the same day as the judication by the SPL."
Unlimited sanctions could be utilised by the SPL - compelled to act after players' union PFA Scotland submitted a formal complaint on behalf of Hearts' first-team squad on December 16, when wages were not paid on time for a third consecutive month - should the club fail to meet the remaining orders, triggering further disciplinary action.
Following a meeting of an SPL sub-committee, the organisation announced Hearts must: pay December's wages by January 11; pay interest on overdue sums from October, November and December's wages; pay legal expenses and the costs of the SPL hearing; and, ensure this month's wages are paid on schedule on January 16.
Hearts' announcement December's wages had been paid satisfied one of the demands and the sale of Eggert Jonsson to Wolves, which was completed on January 1 for an undisclosed fee, is believed to have been key in making the payment possible.
Further departures are inevitable and PFA Scotland chief executive Fraser Wishart hopes Hearts sell in order to ensure they can fulfil their financial obligations.
Wishart said in a statement on pfascotland.co.uk: "At no point have our members asked for the club to be fined or for points to be deducted but should the SPL have to become involved again there are a wide range of sanctions available to its board.
"The hope of our members is indeed that the club is able to sell the players they require to bring in much needed money from transfer fees. That money could then be used to finance the club in coming months but this can only be correct if the club is paying the players."
- Sports & Recreation
- Business & Economy