Vlad probed over late bonus payments for Hearts players

HEARTS players are overdue bonus payments dating back to the start of the season, a matter on which Vladimir Romanov was questioned during his brief meeting with the squad last week.

The majority shareholder flew to Edinburgh last Wednesday to introduce Ivan Svabovic, a prospective new sports director, to his players. Near the end of the meeting he invited any questions, which prompted Lithuanian defender Marius Zaliukas to ask: "When will we get our bonuses?" Romanov replied: "Have you won any games?"

Hearts have recorded two league victories, two Co-operative Cup wins and a European triumph this season but players have no idea when their bonus payments will arrive.

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Club director Sergejus Fedotovas said today that the Tynecastle squad did not deserve any extra monies due to their sub-standard performances: "The players have had their salaries every time for four years since we bought the club and the bonuses are paid when they are deserved. The salaries are always paid according to the contracts and the board decides when the bonuses are paid. The team has earned very little bonuses this season, we need to improve our on-field performance. The payments are on time at the club."

Romanov returned to Lithuania last week without giving the squad any indication of when their increments will be processed. He has made it known that he is unimpressed by Hearts' start to the season with the club sitting eighth in the SPL table after ten matches.

Hearts players twice had their wages delayed last season before eventually being paid in full. The club blamed the problem on a technical glitch whilst parent company Ukio Bankas Investment Group stressed there was no long-term financial problem.

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