Hearts’ reputation as a ‘true’ community club is dead, after they believed there was ‘no reason for Craig Thomson not to continue his career as a professional footballer and he will resume training with immediate effect’.
The club who prides itself on being a community club, state in their Community objectives:
“….use football and Hearts as a motivator to tackle anti-social behaviour and promote acceptable conduct in our communities. Support youth clubs and organisations that work with young people by lending the expertise that Hearts staff possess along with access to facilities, opportunities and equipment.”
After today’s decision, Hearts will find it difficult to work with children’s organisations after keeping a convicted sex offender who preyed on two underage girls, on their books.
The statement on the club’s official website read: “Hearts today concluded its investigation and subsequent disciplinary procedures in relation to Craig Thomson. The club’s detailed investigation has provided a complete picture of the entire circumstances relating to the case which lead the professional footballer to plead, and subsequently be found guilty, of ‘lewd, libidinous and indecent’ behaviour.
“The club views this matter very seriously and does not condone the behaviour of the player. Appropriate action to prevent any further development of unlawful activities has been taken.
“In reaching this decision, the club accepted that there are sufficient mitigating circumstances that provide significant assurance that the player’s conduct, no matter how distasteful, was the result of a grave error of judgement due to naivety and possible wrong outside influence rather than anything more sinister and it will not be repeated.”
The question is what ‘mitigating circumstances’ led to Craig Thomson sending obscene photographs to 12 and 14-year-old girls.
The statement continued: “As such the club believes that there is no reason for Craig Thomson not to continue his career as a professional footballer and he will resume training with immediate effect.
“The club would also caution supporters about recent media reports concerning Craig Thomson that are purported to be based on, or have included quotes from, supposed unnamed sources. The authenticity of such statements is highly dubious and as such they are questionable and often misleading.
“The matter is now closed and the club will not comment any further.”
The club have also issued a statement on behalf of the convicted sex offender Craig Thomson.
Thomson said: “Firstly, I would like to apologise to all those involved in this unfortunate affair. I also want to apologise to my family, friends and the staff, players and supporters of Heart of Midlothian Football Club.
“I was wrong for what I did and will, rightfully, accept my punishment for my errant conduct. I am fully aware that I have let everyone down and I am truly sorry for that.
“As I said previously, football is my life and I will focus on that. This has been a learning curve for me. I personally make no excuses for what I did but I would like to thank the club for studying the entire circumstances around the matter.
“The club’s investigation and full understanding into every aspect of my situation is something I am very grateful for. I am fully aware of the extreme pressure the club faced from individuals and organisations that were not in full possession of the facts surrounding my situation. I thank them for this understanding.
“My aim now is to move on and develop my career and I know that this will only happen with the support of my family, friends and the club. I also know how hard I will have to work to restore your faith in me as an individual and a footballer. I can assure you that I have no intention of letting you down again.”
The club’s decision has angered their fans, who believed that Thomson would be sacked.
Hughesie27 on Jambos Kickback said: “I’ll be booing every touch of the ball he makes.”
While cosanostra added: “I can’t believe they’ve retained him as a player. Really stunned to be honest. I figured that the delay was just down to negotiating his exit and tying up contractual loose ends.”
Jambonumberfive was more damning with his comments: “I cannot condone this decision so I won’t be back until my club is pervert free.”
The club’s actions is a clear decision to back a Sex Offender and reward him for preying on two underage children. Will Hearts now remove their ‘true’ community club tag from their site and promotional items? I hope that those organisations linked with Hearts pull out and show what we think of their decision.
One Childrens charity has already blasted the decision to keep Thomson. Alison Todd, of Children 1st, said: “Children need positive role models in all spheres of life. When someone has been placed on the sex offenders’ register they are clearly unsuitable to be working directly with children and young people.”
We want to hear from all fans not just Hearts fans on the news that the Tynecastle side are retaining Craig Thomson, despite being a convicted sex offender.
Scotzine will NOT report from Hearts this season in protest. Not one of our contributors will be sent to Tynecastle on Scotzine business. We are disgusted by Hearts decision and as an organisation we cannot report from a stadium whose club back a convicted sex offender.