Livingston dismiss six players to help cut costs

Another Scottish club forced to lose squad members while under administration as Rangers fine miscreant
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The Independent Football

The Livingston captain Stuart Lovell admitted there were grown men crying at Almondvale when the administrators announced the sacking of six players yesterday.

Juanjo Camacho, Quino, Cherif Toure-Maman, Guy Ipoua, Tom English and Paul McLaughlin were the men told to go. Others could follow and six players - Lovell, Marvin Andrews, Rubio, Emmanuel Dorado, Alan Main and Fernando Pasquinelli - have been asked to agree to their wages being cut by a third.

Lovell agreed it had been a sad day for a club that had played in Europe last season and reached the CIS Insurance Cup final last week. But he also found words of praise for the way administrator Fraser Gray had handled a situation similar to that which saw players sacked at Motherwell two years ago and at Dundee in November.

He said: "We knew we would lose players, that was inevitable, but it never quite makes you ready to come to terms with that. To see grown men cry is a hard thing to take and there was some surprises as well in the decisions that were made.

"One thing I would like to make perfectly clear is that we appreciate the job the administrators have had to do here. They have given themselves some time to make decisions and I think that might have helped to keep the vast majority of the squad together. Otherwise, if they had made quick decisions we might have lost even more players. We are very grateful to them for doing that."

But Lovell conceded that the six unlucky men, most of whom had been out of the first team picture anyway, might still be joined by some of yesterday's survivors: "It is difficult to say if there will be more and as there are obviously no hard and fast rules about administration, they are well within their rights to do whatever they like.

"The situation was that the wage bill had to come down by a significant amount very quickly, there was no way they were going to be able to keep everyone together."

Lovell revealed he would accept the wage cut offer and expected the others to do the same: "I was never going to jump a sinking ship, so to speak. I was glad to have the opportunity to stay longer," he said.

"By all accounts, if you have been offered a lower wage then the club are in breach of contract and any of those would be able to leave, but I don't anticipate that many, if any, will take that up."

The Scotland's players' union president, Tony Higgins, later confirmed that the six have the option of walking out and joining another club. He said: "I have agreed with Fifa that these guys will be given dispensation to move to other clubs during a closed window.

"If the boys do not accept the wage cut then that is a breach of contract by the club and therefore they will be made redundant. They will then fall into a special category of player who was made unemployed by the club and that allows them to sign for any club in the world. They will be given ostensibly free transfers."

Lovell added: "Obviously, I was aware last night that I at least had a choice. In this situation, you are grateful for that.

"There is obviously a frustration that when you have a contract and you live accordingly to the money you are paid, when someone tells you they are going to take that away.

"But you have to get some kind of perspective and I certainly got that pretty quickly. It is a tragedy for boys who have not done anything wrong.

"This just shows players don't need to have to do anything wrong to lose their jobs."

Meanwhile, the Livingston manager, Davie Hay, has declared that he and his coaching staff intend to stay at the helm of the stricken club: "It has been a very difficult day for everyone and is not something I have had to experience in my time in football.

"I am staying and there will be no cuts in the coaching staff. I think I would always have stayed, especially with what has happened this season so far. To convince everyone to stay, I had to do my part. It is about togetherness now."