Today has been rather interesting if you’re a Heart of Midlothian supporter.
It all started back in October, when players went without wages for a month or so. The players complained to the Scottish Professional Footballers Association, who then complained to the governing body of Scottish football (or at least one of the three), who then told Hearts to pay up or be punished. This trend continued until last week when the players were paid all due wages and interest, after the club were given a deadline of midnight on Tuesday morning to pay everything back-dated to now as well as the next set of wages, which were due to be paid the preceding Monday. So that day arrived and Hearts said the wages were sent out to be paid on time. Then we get to Tuesday morning…
First Romanov says he may not sell the club after all (despite saying he was sick of Scottish football and the media and wanted away as soon as possible), on the same day he finally opens the Scottish branch of his Lithuanian-based bank, Ukio Bankas. Then Marius Zaliukas, the Hearts captain, says the players have been paid on time. The Scottish Premier League (SPL) say they haven’t seen any proof of the players being paid and would hold a meeting to discuss it. Hearts then said the players have been paid and that they do have the proof if the SPL want to have a look at it. Then the SPL decide from their meeting that the players haven’t been paid on time, so Hearts will have to be punished.
There are several punishments the SPL could hand out to Hearts. The first one being a strong fine. This would be about as logical as fining a homeless person for not having a home. Hearts are short of cash, that’s why the club is in this mess to begin with. Fining the club will only make it worse. The next option is to deduct league points. Considering Hearts have not lost a match in 6 games, winning 5 of them in the process, this would make a lot of sense for the SPL. Not only would it severely dent the seemingly indestructible morale in the Hearts camp, it would harm them financially by ending a potential run in a lucrative European competition. Although, this punishes the players who have already been ‘punished’ by not receiving wages on time in the first place, making this illogical. The last option is to place a transfer embargo on Hearts, which means the club can not buy or sell players with the embargo in place, or face more severe punishments (See: FC Sion). With the club seeming to rely on selling players to stay afloat and pay remaining players, this would also be illogical.
So really, charging Hearts for not having the money to pay players is going to punish those already affected or remove more money from the club. I agree that its wrong that the players haven’t been paid recently, but now they are and the club is still being punished for it. To say the SPL have been farcical in this is an understatement. Yet again, they’re embarrassing Scottish football by being completely incompetent at what they do. Some things never change.
Thanks for reading,
(External links: BBC.co.uk, Wikipedia.org.)