Statement hits out at ‘sanctimonious’ clubs following collapse of reconstruction talks
Hearts are prepared to challenge any decision to end this season’s Premiership and relegate them prematurely, although it remains to be seen if that will involve legal action.
Owner Ann Budge is discussing the issue with directors after league reconstruction talks collapsed on Friday. Bottom-of-the-table Hearts face demotion despite eight games of the season remaining.
In a statement posted on the Hearts website, Budge criticised clubs who refused to look at reconstruction any longer.
The statement read :“i am bitterly disappointed, although sadly not surprised, that there is insufficient support from Premiership clubs to expand the top league of Scottish Football to avoid unfairly penalising any club as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is the only option available to avoid the unfair treatment of a number of fellow members of the SPFL.
“Why was expansion dismissed? A number of reasons included a view stated by a number of club representatives that this was, effectively, a distraction, and all efforts need to focus on the issue of how we get football back playing as quickly as possible.
“This is incredibly sanctimonious, suggesting that those of us involved in looking at this issue are failing to recognise what ‘the real issues’ are. Or perhaps it suggests that we are all incapable of considering more than one challenge at a time. Speaking for myself, I am pretty good at multi-tasking.
“The suggestion was also made that the only reason that this is even being discussed is because it is one of the larger clubs, namely Hearts, that will be affected. Not only is that hugely disrespectful to those other clubs in the same position, it flies in the face of the view expressed by so many that no club should be disproportionately disadvantaged because of this crisis situation.
“It is fundamentally wrong that any club should be unfairly penalised by exceptional decisions that have had to be taken to deal with the current crisis. I would stand by that view, regardless of Hearts’ own position. I have principles, which govern my behaviour and I could easily take offence at the implication that I am only taking an interest because it is Hearts. This may be how others behave. It is not, however, how I behave!”
Budge added: “While the Premiership has not yet been called, should it be so, with Hearts expelled, we will be taking further advice on what options are open to us and to other clubs in the same position, to formally challenge this outcome.”