Wages surge 33% at Heart of Midlothian

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HEART OF Midlothian's wage bill soared by 33 per cent as the Scottish football club, which listed on the stock market last year, renegotiated contracts for several key players.

Rising salaries were the main reason why Hearts' pre-tax loss deepened to pounds 1.94m in the 14 months to 31 July, from pounds 1.54m in the year to May 1997, writes Peter Thal Larsen.

Chris Robinson, the chief executive, said all but one of the club's key players were locked into long-term contracts, which would keep wage costs under control. "There's some wage inflation you have to bite when you get a lot of players out of contract at the same time. Now we've got our act together we've got to make the most of it," he said.

Mr Robinson said the initial response to the club's broadcasting deal with L!VE TV, Mirror Group's television channel, had been positive.