Glasgow: Scotland to lose its national stadium?

source: StadiumDB.com

Glasgow: Scotland to lose its national stadium? In two years the lease runs out and Scotland's football games might move to another venue. That's what supporters want but is it something the Scottish FA would accept?

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Hampden Park is one of the world's most legendary football stadiums, havign hosted numerous classics, like European cup finals and Scotland's internationals. It was also at the heart of Commonwealth Games and will soon become part of Euro 2020. But 2020 may be the end of Hampden as we know it. This is when Scottish FA's lease on the stadium expires.

SFA has publicly expressed doubt whether prolonging the lease is a good solution, because the building is aged and would require many millions in investment.

Fans want out

Moreover, its layout provides poor sightlines for fans. The Scottish Football Supporters Association ran a survey among its members, active Scotland's fans. Massive 73% consider the visibility to be bad or very bad, with public transport (64%) and parking (82%) ranked as two other major disadvantages.

Hampden

Asked about a way forward, fans consider staying at Hampden the least favourable option, with only one in six supporters (15%) agreeing with such statement. 25% argue it would be better to play at club grounds (primarily Celtic Park and Ibrox), while 26% would prefer a brand new stadium replacing Hampden.

Perhaps surprisingly, the most popular alternative is moving to Edinburgh's Murrayfield, the national rugby stadium. Coincidentally, the rugby federation has already held talks with SFA about potential relocation.

What about the money?

Staying at Hampden would require significant investment, but it might still prove to be the most viable option. Why? Building a brand new stadium before the lease runs out is impossible and even in the long run might prove too expensive.

Meanwhile relocating to any other major stadium in Scotland would mean SFA sharing revenue with the hosts. As things stand at Hampden, the association pays a really low amount of £310,000 per annum. The lease fee is repayed already with sub-rentals of stadium floor space. On top of that, SFA has all commercial rights to the stadium, which is owned by amateur team Queen's Park.

Should SFA leave, the team would be left with unbearable burden. Queens Park don't even attract 1,000 fans per game, so maintaining a 50,000+ stadium would be impossible. Of course one could imagine the team attracting large gigs like the summer concerts, but filling the calendar with full-stadium events seems very unlikely.

Confronted with the supporters' survey results, SFA chief executive Stewart Regan said: "The results of the research is concerning. Clearly the status quo is not working, and with such widespread views on the question of the national stadium we believe that a full independent consultation should be conducted before any future decisions are made about Hampden Park.

"Given the issues that have been highlighted by the research we would also be in favour of further work being done to explore the options to update and improve the current stadium."

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