Naismith asked to take 50% wage cut

Steven Naismith is part of a Hearts' squad asked to take a 50% pay cut as the impact of coronavirus

Steven Naismith is part of a Hearts' squad asked to take a 50% pay cut as the impact of coronavirus continues to hit football Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Former Norwich City attacker and Hearts’ captain Steven Naismith must take a 50% wage cut as the Scottish Premiership club try to stave off the threat of redundancies to deal with the spread of coronavirus.

Naismith completed a permanent move to Hearts at the start of the season, after his Canaries’ contract ran out following a bit part role at Carrow Road during a three year spell following his reported £8m move from Everton in January 2016.

The 33-year-old had revived his career north of the border, and earned an international recall, but Hearts were four points adrift at the bottom of the table before football was put on hold in response to the global pandemic.

Now Hearts’ owner Ann Budge has confirmed the wage cuts to all football departments is a necessary step, with reports the prolonged break could cost the Edinburgh club an estimated £1m.

“This reduction in income is not sustainable without taking immediate action to cut staff costs and overheads,” said Budge, in an official club statement.

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“As such, I need to act swiftly and take steps now to ensure that we, as a club, can weather this storm while trying to ensure we are ready to resume operations as and when we move into calmer waters and football restarts.

“In order to try to prevent a staff redundancy programme and to protect as many jobs as possible, I am proposing to implement a club-wide salary reduction programme.

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“We have asked all full-time employees, managers, coaches, players and player backroom staff, with effect from the beginning of April, to accept a 50% cut in their monthly salary, with the following caveats: no-one’s full-time salary will fall below the living wage. In other words, if the 50% reduction would take anyone’s salary below this threshold, the full-time salary will be set at £18,135.

“Given the uncertainty of the whole situation with which we have been presented, we cannot say how long these measures will be in place.

“We will, of course, be continuously reviewing the situation.

“I want to assure everyone that these decisions have not been taken lightly. 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.

“I thank you all and give you my personal assurance that I will do everything in my power to try to guide us safely through the next few months.”

All salaries will be paid as normal this month but the reduction would begin in April.

Those unable or unwilling to accept the drop in salary will be offered the chance to leave the club, according to the official statement.

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