Football/Soccer

Hearts captain Steven Naismith takes pay cut to help club survive

Hearts captain Steven Naismith says he has agreed to take a 50 per cent pay cut 

HEARTS captain Steven Naismith has pledged to accept a 50 per cent pay cut in order to save jobs and help the club survive during the coronavirus crisis.

Players have been asked to halve their wages by the struggling Edinburgh side following the suspension of the Ladbrokes Premiership. Scotland international Naismith is willing to meet the demand and plans to remain at Tynecastle next season "regardless of which league the club is in".

Relegation-threatened Hearts, managed by Daniel Stendel, currently sit at the foot of the division, four points adrift of second-bottom Hamilton: "The current circumstances put everyone in a very difficult position, but this isn't a problem of Hearts' making," Naismith said in a statement.

"My family and I feel that, through a long career, football has been very good to us. Therefore, I personally feel that I can and should accept the 50 per cent reduction in wages.

"I hope this can contribute in some way to the long-term survival of the club at a challenging time and save jobs, especially those that are the lowest earners and hence those who will be struggling the most at this time. I know every one of my team-mates have unique circumstances with their finances, homes and families. I can assure everyone they are all doing what they can."

Former Rangers, Everton and Norwich forward Naismith joined Hearts in January 2018, initially on loan. The 33-year-old's contract runs until 2023: "As captain of Hearts, I will fully support my team-mates, whatever decision each of them makes on this matter," he continued.

"I am making a commitment to stay at Hearts, regardless of which league the club is in, next season and look forward to continuing to lead as captain. I consider it an honour to represent Hearts."

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Football/Soccer