Scottish League One club Queen’s Park has challenged the Scottish Football Association (SFA) to justify its claims that keeping Hampden Park as the country’s national stadium would cost “many millions”.
Hampden Park has served as the home of Scottish football since 1906, but with the SFA’s lease on the 52,000-capacity venue due to expire in 2020, it recently emerged that the national governing body could seek a new home.
Last month, reports suggested the SFA was considering Murrayfield as a possible option, with the rugby union venue doubling up as the national football stadium. BBC Sport Football recently reported that a delegation from the SFA visited the stadium to hold initial talks with officials.
However, Queen’s Park, which also plays its home matches at Hampden Park, has now hit out at the proposed plans, criticising SFA chief executive Stewart Regan for comments he made to the BBC saying that remaining at Hampden Park would cost the SFA “many millions”.
“We know it will cost many, many millions of pounds to stay for another term of a lease similar to what we have now,” Regan said.
In response, Queen’s Park has published a statement on its website urging the SFA to reconsider, saying that decision to move from Hampden Park “cannot be based purely on cost”.
Queen’s Park said: “We have to date had no detailed access to any evidence to substantiate this statement and would seek confirmation from the Scottish FA that they have fulfilled their responsibilities, under the present lease, to maintain the stadium and further detailed evidence to support Mr Regan’s statement.
“Whilst Mr Regan has stated it would take many millions of pounds to remain at Hampden, he has not clarified how much it would cost the Scottish FA to leave Hampden.
“For the past 17 years the stadium has been successfully operated by Hampden Park Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Scottish FA, with many areas of revenue generation, including sponsors, naming rights, third party rentals and concerts.
“The present lease arrangements allow the Scottish FA to work independently with a vast degree of flexibility and the ability and freedom, for example, to bid and be awarded matches from the Uefa 2020 Euros.
“The decision to remain or leave cannot be based purely on cost, the City of Glasgow and indeed Scotland could be greatly affected by the loss of the iconic Hampden Park, recognised worldwide as the home of Scottish Football.”
Queen’s Park also moved to verify media articles over rental costs at Hampden Park. Reports had suggested that £800,000 (€898,900/$1.07m) is paid to the club each year, but Queen’s Park has said this figure is incorrect.
The club added: “Under the present lease agreement, a confidentiality clause prohibits us from making public the rental amount, however we can say it is much, much less the £800,000 per annum paid directly to Queen’s Park. The vast proportion of the rental is retained by the Scottish FA to maintain the stadium.”