Ann Budge has defended Hearts’ decision to approach top agents about the availability of players - insisting it was a plan to make the Tynecastle club stronger. 

Reports emerged this week that Jambos' head of pro player recruitment John Murray sent out an email to agents stating that the cash-strapped club would have money to spend with current players heading out the Tynecastle door. 

The story came just days after Budge admitted a loss of £1million in revenue and the Hearts owner described the situation as serious. But today in a lengthy statement Budge has defended the club's actions while reassuring supporters. 

READ MORE: Hearts owner Ann Budge admits £1m lost revenue is "a serious situation" for the Tynecastle club

She said: “Firstly, let me reassure all Hearts’ supporters that our financial position is no worse (nor better) than almost every other senior football club in Scotland, despite the recent continuous supply of mis-information and malicious speculation.

"Much has been made of an email, sent by our Head of Player Recruitment [John Murray], to agents with regard to potential recruitment requirements once football resumes.

"We must continue to plan for football returning and make sure we are in the strongest possible position possible when that happens.

"I would however like to make it clear there is no pot of money sitting in the bank that could be going towards player or employee wages and there is certainly no intention of paying transfers fees under the current circumstances."

She continued: "In line with most other clubs, we aim to hold sufficient cash reserves to cover 2-3 months of normal trading operations.

READ MORE: Hearts boss Daniel Stendel working for FREE amid coronavirus outbreak as Ann Budge cuts wages

"The reason we are implementing cost control measures is because we could be facing up to 6 months of totally abnormal operations.

"Given that we all know we have to plan for that eventuality, I see absolutely no reason for sitting back and waiting either on a miracle or for the Government to bail out every company in the country….in a timely enough manner.

"Neither of these options is likely to happen and, therefore, I make no apology for putting immediate plans in place to mitigate the problems heading our way."

We told earlier this week how Hearts asked their players and management to take a 50 percent wage cut. Tynecastle boss Daniel Stendel duly obliged and is currently working for free.

READ MORE: Celtic, Rangers and Motherwell to get BIGGER handout than other clubs as SPFL issue advance payments 

Budge revealed that there are further cost saving measures in place. She added: "Let me move on to explain the approach we are taking to managing down our costs over the next few months.

"Clearly, Riccarton and Tynecastle are now closed down in line with the Government restrictions.  Equally clearly, however, we have a large number of fixed overheads, the costs of which we still have to cover.

"The Government has announced a number of packages aimed at helping companies to stay in business during this period of close down.  We are following up on all of these initiatives.

"However, in every case the devil is in the detail and none of these packages are as straight-forward as they might seem when reported in the headline announcements.

"As an example, although it was announced that banks would be able to help businesses of our size, having approached our bank we have been formally advised that their policy towards football clubs hasn’t changed and they remain unable to lend to us!

"I would stress that we are not alone in this.  This is not a Hearts problem; it is a football problem. We will continue to pursue this but it is indicative of the fact that football is not very high on the list of priority sectors for support.

READ MORE: Scotland boss Steve Clarke writes open letter to Tartan Army

"We are, of course, following up on all other packages including rates relief and job protection schemes.  However, I repeat that there is a dearth of detail available as yet and it is incredibly difficult to be clear on what level of support we can get.

"Payroll, as with all clubs of our size, is by far our biggest monthly cost.  Notwithstanding the job retention scheme mentioned above, there is little doubt that we will have to implement a salary reduction programme across the Club.  We simply will not survive a 6-month close down, unless we implement this.

"I have been roundly criticised for even suggesting such a thing.  However, as you will read below, our staff have been amazing. There is wide-spread recognition that to get through this period, everyone has to stand together and do what they can.  This is the approach most likely to allow us to avoid redundancies and to save jobs and contracts."