£5m deal to buy stadium
Home win as SFA remains at Hampden Park
The SFA has decided to remain at Hampden Park rather than move to Murrayfield in Edinburgh (pic: SNS Group)
The Scottish FA is to remain at Hampden Park after agreeing terms to buy the stadium from Queen’s Park FC for £5 million when the existing lease expires in summer 2020.
Lord Willie Haughey, chairman of Glasgow-based City Holdings Group, and Sir Tom Hunter will pay half of the bill, committing £2.5m directly to the SFA.
The decision follows a lengthy and rigorous process that saw Hampden Park competing with BT Murrayfield to be the home of Scottish football, following the UEFA European Championships in two years’ time.
The SRU expressed disappointment that an opportunity to create a national stadium for Scottish sport had not been taken.
The £5m will allow Queen’s Park FC to adapt Lesser Hampden to become its new registered licensed ground for all its matches.
The SFA have pledged to redevelop Hampden Park to provide a national stadium 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.
“This decision is about what was best for Scottish football and our members. It is about the future of football in Scotland.
“I would also like to thank everyone who has been part of this process and to recognise the enormous generosity of Lord Haughey.
“Finally, it has also been a hugely challenging time for Queen’s Park, Hampden Park Limited and all of the people who will be directly affected by this decision. We appreciate all their efforts to reach an agreement today and look forward to working with them to shape the future and continue to develop a national stadium that we can all be proud of.”
Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell added: “I would first of all like to offer my thanks to Dominic McKay and his team at Scottish Rugby. They have been impressive throughout the process and I would like to continue to build that relationship. There is a lot we can learn from each other.
“Today is a big day for Scottish football. Hampden Park has been the spiritual home of Scottish football for over 100 years 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.”
Expressing Scottish Rugby’s disappointment at the decision, Mr McKay said: “We are naturally disappointed this once-in-a-generation opportunity to develop a partnership for a true national stadium for Scotland at BT Murrayfield, which would have enabled the country’s two largest sports to work side by side for the wider benefit of Scottish sport and society, has not been taken.
“Scottish Rugby had the support of some very important partners in developing our bid and would like to thank the City of Edinburgh Council and our numerous sponsors for their backing.
“Scottish Rugby would like to thank the Scottish FA for the opportunity to bid to host future Scotland internationals and cup final matches at BT Murrayfield.
“We submitted a compelling and thorough bid package which we believe would have been excellent for the Scottish FA.
“Our presentation clearly demonstrated the significant benefits of Scotland’s largest stadium and how we have worked to develop a quality experience for all visiting fans.”