Questions raised over Hampden Park deal

The Scottish Football Association’s deal to buy Hampden Park could be in doubt amid issues relating to Glasgow City Council’s involvement with the stadium.

Last September, the Scottish FA reached an agreement to buy Hampden Park from Queen’s Park, which plays in the Scottish League Two, in a move that looked to ensure the venue as Scotland’s national stadium.

The Scottish FA is due to assume ownership of Hampden Park when its existing lease for the stadium expires in the summer of 2020. The £5m (€5.7m/$6.5m) agreement represented a success for Hampden Park, which had faced competition from Edinburgh’s Murrayfield stadium to become the home of Scottish football after 2020.

The Scottish FA plans on developing the infrastructure of Hampden Park and creating a venue that will “inspire the next generation of football fans”.

However, the deal has reportedly stalled, with one source telling BBC Scotland that negotiations are “completely deadlocked”.

The BBC reports that Glasgow City Council is refusing to waive a floating charge for the stadium unless it is involved in the running of the venue going forward. The council invested £2.6m into the stadium in the 1990s and as such is represented on the board of Hampden Park Ltd (HPL), which oversees the running of the venue.

The BBC notes that the Scottish FA has told the council that it will not be represented on any new company that is formed to replace HPL. The future of the Hampden’s National Football Museum is also said to be an issue of contention between the two parties.

In a statement given to BBC Scotland, the Scottish FA said: “Discussions between the Scottish FA and Queen’s Park FC regarding the final terms of the deal for the sale of Hampden Park are ongoing. Deals of this complexity require time and effort and we will continue to work with all stakeholders to conclude the transfer of ownership of the stadium to the Scottish FA following the expiration of the lease in June 2020.”

Glasgow City Council said: “We have been in discussions with all the partners involved. However the deal is between Queen’s Park and the SFA and it is not appropriate for us to comment on that. It’s not clear at this stage what the management arrangements will be, however we are ready to partner with the SFA in the management of the stadium and the wider development of the area.”

Queen’s Park has a deal in place to continue playing at the 51,000-seat Hampden Park until the end of the 2019-20. According to the BBC, the Scottish FA wants Queen’s Park out of the stadium at the end of next season, although the team wishes to remain at the venue.

Under the terms of the agreement reached last September, Queen’s Park would use the nearby Lesser Hampden venue as its new registered licensed ground for all matches.

Image: Martin le Roy