Drastic measures already underway at Rangers’ rivals Hearts show the extent of the financial woes prompted by the suspension of the Premiership.
On Friday, all professional and grassroots football was suspended ‘until further notice’.
NEWS | The Joint Response Group can confirm the decision of the Scottish FA Board to suspend ALL domestic professional and grassroots football under the jurisdiction of the Scottish FA until further notice.https://t.co/xGeafo2rE0
— Scottish FA (@ScottishFA) March 13, 2020
Remarkably, just five days later, on Wednesday evening, Hearts’ CEO Ann Budge released a statement detailing her decision to ask club staff to take a 50% pay cut effective from the beginning of April [Heartsfc.co.uk]. This measure includes the coaching staff and all first-team players.
It’s assured that even with the cuts, no one’s salary will drop below the Living Wage, but that any staff member who feels unable or unwilling to accept the revisions to their contracts can have their original deals terminated.
No time frame is given in terms of a projected end date to the cuts.
“In summary… I want to assure everyone that these decisions have not been taken lightly,” wrote Budge at Heartsfc.co.uk. “If I was not absolutely convinced that this is necessary for the future sustainability of our business, I would not be asking our employees to face these cuts.”
“Never has it been more important that we stand together as colleagues, and I’d like to thank the staff for their understanding.
“Similarly, we would ask our fans and our FOH pledgers to continue to support us in any way they can, during this very difficult time.”
📝 Club statement
— Heart of Midlothian FC (@JamTarts) March 18, 2020
These serious and unpleasant measures show that it’s not just lower league SPFL sides who are at risk amid the ongoing uncertainty.
On Friday morning, Daniel Stendel and his first-team squad would have been preparing for an important trip to Livingston, but now they’re facing the prospect of months without football and halved wages.
Rangers fans will be hoping no such measures will be required at Ibrox, with this next period a true test of how financially stable the club is following its return from the dark days.
There have been positive noises coming from boardroom level in recent times despite the £11.3m loss recorded last financial year [Rangers.co.uk] and Bears will be hoping there are sufficient funds to pay the staff despite what looks like being a prolonged period without ticket sales.
Reports have linked wealthy Asia-based businessman, Stuart Gibson, with injecting up to £20m into the club [Daily Record], and especially in these uncertain times, that level of investment would be extremely well received.