The Scottish Football Association has announced today (Tuesday) that it has reached an agreement to buy Hampden Park from Queen’s Park in a move that ensures the Glasgow venue will continue as the country’s national stadium.
The Scottish FA will assume ownership of Hampden Park when its existing lease for the stadium expires in the summer of 2020.
The body will take over the stadium from Queen’s Park, which plays in the Scottish League Two, the fourth tier of the domestic game. The Scottish FA said the deal has seen ownership of the stadium transfer to the body for a cash price of £5m, half of which will be provided by Scottish businessman Lord Willie Haughey.
Today’s announcement follows a lengthy process that saw Hampden Park compete alongside Edinburgh’s Murrayfield stadium to become the home of Scottish football after 2020. With a capacity of 67,000, Murrayfield is Scotland’s largest stadium and is home to the national rugby union team. The Scottish FA commended Scottish Rugby for the “huge amount of effort” the body invested in its bid.
The Scottish FA will now work with Queen’s Park to finalise the agreement. Queen’s Park will use the nearby Lesser Hampden venue as its new registered licensed ground for all matches.
The Scottish FA said that ownership of Hampden Park will allow it “control the future” of the stadium, opening up opportunities to develop the infrastructure and create a venue that will “inspire the next generation of football fans”.
Scottish FA president Alan McRae said: “Today’s announcement has been the conclusion of a four-year process to review our national stadium beyond 2020.
“It was a hugely difficult decision and I would like to place on record our thanks to Scottish Rugby for their professionalism throughout the process. They made a truly compelling case to move to Edinburgh and gave us a very difficult decision to make. I would like to pay tribute to the inspiration, energy and hard work of Scottish Rugby chief executive, Mark Dodson, and his chief operating officer, Dominic McKay – both are true leaders in Scottish sport.”
Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell added: “Today is a big day for Scottish football. Hampden Park has been the spiritual home of Scottish football for over 100 years (and) it has been central to our sport’s identity in this country. But today’s decision is about the future, not the past.
“Our mission is to inspire a nation to love the game and having a home that we can call our own is an important part of that. It will enable us to drive investment into the game and give us the best chance to improve football in Scotland.
“While we are now committed to Hampden Park we also recognise that it needs to change. We have heard the fans’ views throughout the process and agree with them that we need to improve access, transport links and the overall experience. We are committed to doing that.”
Image: Martin le Roy