Decision time for football authorities: Liam Boyce

HEARTS and Northern Ireland international Liam Boyce says the football authorities need to decide quickly on what happens with the remainder of the season due to the on-going coronavirus crisis.

Hearts’ last game was a 3-1 win over Edinburgh rivals Hibernian on March 3 before all football matches in Britain and Ireland were postponed until April 3 before it was extended until the end of month.

Given the anticipated loss of life in Britain and in Ireland over the coming weeks, Boyce said that “nobody really cares about football” at the minute.

The former Cliftonville striker has returned home in Belfast with his partner Leoncha and daughter Scout to be closer to their families.

“I’ve come back home and we’ve rented a place because if someone gets sick I don’t want to be away,” said Boyce.

“My mum and dad are older and I just feel better being here so I can help out.”

Boyce had just made the successful switch to the Scottish Premier League club from Burton Albion back in January and was seen as one of the key figures to help Hearts avoid relegation, who currently sit at the foot of the division.

But the longer the enforced break extends, the more impatient many footballers want clarity on the remainder of the season.

“I think they just have to make a decision on what to do with the season. At the minute, nobody really cares about football. People are actually dying, people that you know are getting sick. It’s the older people you fear for because a lot of them could die,” said the 29-year-old striker. 

“So I just think they need to make a decision – I don’t particularly care what they decide, there is always going to be somebody that’s unhappy.”

Meanwhile, Hearts chairwoman Ann Budge issued a statement on Thursday insisting that there will be salary reductions across the board in a bid to avoid redundancies at the Edinburgh club.

Firing a shot across the bows of sections of the Scottish press, Budge said: “The reason we are implementing cost control measures is because we could be facing up to six months of totally abnormal operations. 

“Given that we all know we have to plan for that eventuality, I see absolutely no reason for sitting back and waiting either on a miracle or for the Government to bail out every company in the country….in a timely enough manner.” 

Budge added that their financial position is “no worse nor better than almost every other senior club in Scotland” and admitted Hearts could not survive a six-month shutdown. 

“There is wide-spread recognition that to get through this period, everyone has to stand together and do what they can,” said the Hearts official. 

“This is the approach most likely to allow us to avoid redundancies and to save jobs and contracts.”

Football on these islands are approaching their third weekend of closure. Football chiefs in England will meet on April 3 to discuss their next move but the shutdown is almost certainly going to be extended until the end of April.

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