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Fresh fears after further wage delays at Dunfermline

DUNFERMLINE Athletic's financial woes do not seem to be abating after Jim Jefferies revealed staff are still waiting for a third of their December wages, despite being told they would be brought up to date on Monday.

The Fife club are continuing to struggle financially amidst fears that they may not be able to see out the season. The East End Park outfit have run up extensive arrears paying tax to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs and will announce the details of a planned shares issue in the coming days. But, with cash-flow an on-going problem, salaries have been sporadic since players had to wait until late November before receiving their full October entitlement.

The first-team squad have received their basic pay for December but remain short of bonuses and appearance money, with Gavin Masterton, the majority shareholder, indicating the shortfall should be included in this month's cash. Masterton had also said last Friday that staff would be paid their remaining portion on Monday. However, despite large gates at games against Falkirk and Raith Rovers over the festive period, Jefferies admitted staff have not had anything since a 35% instalment late last week brought their wages up to 65%.

With January's money soon due, Jefferies said: "For the players, there's still some outstanding appearance money. It's all being sorted out and the owner said it will be done in their next wage. In terms of the staff, we got 30% and then another 35%, so we've had 65% but there's been nothing since. We just have to get on with it. Then, we'll see what happens at the end of the month . . ."

While the financial forecast was better at Hearts, manager John McGlynn still fears that the Scottish Premier League's decision to lift the club's transfer embargo may have no benefit. With the SPL satisfied that January's staff salaries and outstanding bonuses have been paid, the Tynecastle club are now able to register new players, albeit subject to a series of provisos. They can only sign under-21 players on a one-in, one-out basis and the player coming in must have a lower annual salary than the one departing.

Improving his squad under such restrictions will be a big challenge, concedes McGlynn. "We have four players in the Scotland under-21 squad," he said. "Dale Carrick, Kevin McHattie, Jason Holt and David Smith. Where are we going to get players under the age of 21 who will walk into our first team as we have four as it is? It is a restriction.

"You are looking at the English market. John Murray has been down every weekend since the under-21 league in England started, and I have been down the majority of Monday nights."

In a statement issued on the club's website today, a spokesperson said: "Up to Friday, 12th January, DAFC had paid in total over 90% of their total wages bill. This has now increased to 94% and DAFC are working hard to ensure the final 6% is paid as soon as possible.

"The First Team players received their salaries on 28th December in advance of their pay date on 31st December.

"Payments have been made throughout the week to staff as and when funds have been received.

"In addition to this DAFC confirmed yesterday that all historical HMRC arrears and Month 8 PAYE had been cleared. Significant payments have also been paid to utilities companies throughout December to reduce tariffs going forward."

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