HEARTS FC board have issued a statement yesterday seeking to clarify comments made by owner Ann Budge in an interview with Radio 5 Live on Friday.
Hearts owner Ann Budge had previously claimed in a live interview with BBC Radio 5 that “you shouldn’t be awarded a title if you haven’t played 38 games” – which was indirectly seen as a rant against teams at the top of their tables like Celtic and Dundee United.
The SPFL had previously passed a resolution earlier in the week with Dundee United changing their previously cast vote to a yes in favour of the resolution that officially concluded the Championship, League 1 and League 2 immediately, thus declaring United, Raith Rovers and Cove Rangers champions in their respective leagues and relegate Partick Thistle and Stranraer in the process.
And now, days after the Hearts owner again criticised the handling of the process despite being chosen to co-chair a task force on league reconstruction, her own club has released a statement claiming the comments made by chairwoman Budge have been taken out of content and misconstrued.
? Clarification on comments in the media
— Heart of Midlothian FC (@JamTarts) April 18, 2020
Here is the official statement released by the club :
“We would like to clarify our position on a comment made by Ann Budge during a broadcast interview that has, by some, been taken out of context.
“You shouldn’t be awarded a title if you haven’t played 38 games; you shouldn’t be relegated if you haven’t played 38 games, and all sorts of other things in between. Some rules were changed, others weren’t.”
Ann was speaking in reference to the SPFL rules, with the broader point being that it is unfair to change some rules and not others, and not expressing an opinion on whether or not clubs such as Dundee Utd, and Celtic if the Premiership is called, will be deserving winners of their titles, which some articles suggest.
The Club’s position has always been one of “promotions but no relegations” on the grounds that there should be no losers in this situation if the season cannot be finished”
Frankly the case of Ann Budge is quite a strange one indeed, On one hand she’s on the boat that screams anarchy, corruption and malice at how the SPFL have handled the entire affair, the Dundee vote flip and resolution that went along with it, while at the same time she has shown herself willing to play ball with the authorities by accepting a task force position position as deputy chair of a 15 person SPFL reconstruction group that is tasked with exploration of reconstruction of the Scottish Premiership to a 14 member league. The only possible scenario which would allow Hearts and Hamilton Academical FC remain in the league along with two new entrants.
Secondly the reconstruction proposal lost steam the moment Ann Budge shoot herself in the foot by first claiming that any resolution at reconstructing the league would only be a stop-gap solution for one or two seasons and then second when she took her swipe at Celtic and other champions which has according to the report in Daily Record, has hit the wrong chord with six other top flight clubs who are said to be dismayed at her comments.
This does make her reconstruction proposal an absolute unrealistic scenario given that she first needs 11-1 votes in her favour for any resolution to pass, plus she would also then need 75% of clubs in the lower leagues to support it as well. Moreover new broadcaster contract kicks in from the next season as well that needs the SPFL to guarantee 4 Old Firm derbies in a season meaning any talks of a 14 or a 16 team league being established would a lot of work that an already reticent SPFL seem to have no intention of getting done for the sake of a single team.
To be fair to her she has to try, in extraordinary circumstances like these theres no point in not pushing the boundaries if you are on the loosing side. Sure they could have played a lot better to start of with but whats done is done and now its only a matter of which gamble pays off if at all any of them do.