Hearts owner Ann Budge has hit back at critics of her request for staff to take a 50 percent wage cut as she hinted football's shutdown could last six months.

The Scottish Premiership side were one of the first football clubs to ask employees to bear the brunt of the coronavirus crisis with an immediate loss of income, with matches in Scotland indefinitely suspended.

That led to criticism from some quarters about the financial state of the club.

But even European giants Bayern Munich have since cut wages and Budge insisted Hearts were not in a more precarious financial position than other clubs before the crisis hit.

"In line with most other clubs, we aim to hold sufficient cash reserves to cover two to three months of normal trading operations," she said in an open letter on Thursday.

"The reason we are implementing cost-control measures is because we could be facing up to six months of totally abnormal operations."

Hearts' financial position could get even worse should they be relegated from the Scottish top-flight.

They sit bottom of the Premiership table with eight games remaining, but Budge has threatened legal action if the club are relegated without another ball kicked in the 2019/20 season.

She does not believe football will resume before late July at the earliest and said most staff, including players, had agreed to the cuts proposed.

"A number of staff and managers offered to take no salary or a larger wage reduction to enable us to better support those who needed it more," Budge said.

"I asked all employees to stand together to ensure we can survive the next few months. Their response has been amazing. Most of the staff agreed immediately."

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us
a