Hearts: Ann Budge frustrated by SPFL’s response to cash and league proposals

Hearts were condemned to Premiership bottom spot after losing to St Mirren in the SPFL’s final fixture in March

Hearts owner Ann Budge says “philanthropists” have approached her offering millions of pounds to help lower-league clubs as she expressed her frustration with the SPFL.

Budge admits her discussion paper on league reconstruction is doomed to fail, adding: “A number of clubs won’t be able to play next season.”

She says the league has been unhelpful over the offer of financial help.

“I’m being asked to put it in writing. It’s a nonsense,” she said.

“It’s not quick enough, it’s not decisive enough.”

Describing the offer of help for Scotland’s lower-league clubs as “an amazing philanthropic gesture”, believed to be worth millions of pounds with no conditions, the businesswoman continued: “They know me because of Hearts.

“What they’re saying is, ‘We would like to help Scottish football’, and I can’t even get that moving.”

Budge said that the SPFL’s response to the offer was to ask her to “put a paper in and they will discuss it next week”.

She said: “I’m offering them money! Not my money. I don’t think it should be for me to say, ‘Here’s a pot of money, this is how I think it should be spent’.

“This is what is frustrating me more than anything. We are not addressing the right problems at all and people aren’t armed with all of the information.”

As things stand, Hearts will be playing in the Championship next season, having been relegated in bottom spot when the Premiership was called with eight games remaining.

“The inherent unfairness of it is why I’m still talking about it,” said Budge, who reiterated that legal action is her least favoured option to address what she sees as the Tynecastle club being wronged by their relegation.

“I put forward a paper which I want to be viewed as a discussion document.

“I’m not precious at all about 14-14-14. What I want to progress is the discussions. We need to start the dialogue. I feel like we have been treading water for weeks and nothing is happening.”

Responding to claims by the likes of Ross County chairman Roy MacGregor that her proposal is fuelled by self-interest, Budge said: “If it hadn’t been Hearts there, no, I might not have been fighting so hard but I can assure you I would have been voting for change.

“If I go right back to 15 March, I wrote to the SPFL and said we need to look at this so that clubs don’t suffer. What I got back was a letter that basically said, ‘Yes, if you would like to do the work and tell us what articles need changed, we’ll look at it’.

“That is not what I expect from the governing body. I expect them to take more leadership.

“I should not be the one who’s trying to come up with some solution. I and many others can see a tsunami coming towards us. Certain clubs cannot play behind closed doors. Other clubs don’t want to for business reasons.

“Everybody knows we have to make a change. Let’s make a change proactively rather than waiting for clubs getting into difficulty. It’s a nonsense.”

Budge says that manager Daniel Stendel now “technically does not have a contract,” but stopped short of confirming the German will leave the club.

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