Date: 31st May 2020 at 11:31am
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How much pain will Hearts fans have to endure if Ann Budge decides to drag the SPFL through the courts?

A report published today, outlining the array of punishments, suggests that it will be a lot.

At the extreme end of the scale is the revoking of their SFA membership; more likely is a transfer ban, exclusion from the Scottish Cup and a huge fine.

Hearts are still in last season’s Scottish Cup at the moment. They are due to play Hibs.

The chances are that they’d be banned for next season’s campaign instead of the unresolved one.

Nevertheless, it would be a heavy blow for them.

A transfer ban would impact on their ability to even put a team out on the park.

The fine could approach £1 million.

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How many Polish footballers have played for Celtic, including our new Bhoy?

These are big punishments, and they are only the ones included in the SFA charter.

The SPFL may want to levy its own penalties, including points deductions.

The dominos will not stop falling if Hearts decide to pursue this matter in the courts … it would be deadly for them.

For months now the press has been reporting on the possibility of this as if her threat wasn’t empty and ridiculous. The truth is, she is well aware that her club would be lucky to survive the outcome.

She will not overturn relegation, so even if the SFA stuck to merely fining the club the maximum amount it could be, with no fans allowed in grounds, a Year Zero moment.

The rest of the board at Hearts needs to hit the brakes on this woman’s ambitions and they need to do it in a big hurry, or she is going to drag the rest of the club down with her.

Now that the range of punishments has been laid out – and all are more than Hearts can afford – they have a simple choice to make.

They cannot let her make matters worse.

James Forrest is the guest on the latest Celtic Down Under podcast, which you can listen to here.

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