Thursday, August 5, 1999 Published at 13:51 GMT 14:51 UK
Footballers' wages hit new high
Rangers and Celtic players share most of the money
The earnings of Scotland's top footballers have broken the £50m a year barrier.
The latest analysis of Scottish football finance, produced by accountants PriceWaterhouseCoopers, shows Rangers and Celtic players took the lions share.
Rangers and Celtic players commanded almost £33m of that, while total debt has increased alarmingly in the first division.
The debt level has gone up in one season from just over £1m to more than £5.5m.
The rise, which has seen the earnings of players with Scotland's top 10 clubs leap 150% in five years, is being blamed on the globalisation of football.
Scottish Premier League Chief Executive Roger Mitchell said the high wages were just a fact of the market economy.
Motherwell had the lowest wages bill in the premier league but even at that, the club management is forced to fork out almost £2m annually.
Chris Robinson, Chief Executive of Hearts, said last year's figures were an "accurate reflection" of Scottish football and its financial state.
"We are seeing market forces. Until such times as we see the market level off, there is going to be a financial imbalance with players."
First division clubs are facing growing financial problems as they bid for promotion. They have invested large sums in players to make it into the more lucrative premier league.
Morton Chairman Hugh Scott said if lower division clubs wanted to reach the top flight they needed to invest in professional players.
"The situation is that if you want to play in the premier division you have to pay footballers full time and run full time squads.
"The premier division requires certain standards - quite rightly so - to try to improve the game. It is unthinkable that a part time team could ever aspire to that division," he added.