The contract was expected back in 2018 but was deadlocked for procedural reasons. Now Queens Park FC are officially preparing to leave their spiritual home as Hampden Park will be transferred to Scottish FA. Not instantly, but still.
Talks between Queens Park FC and Scottish FA about the future of Hampden Park were ongoing for months, ever since it was clear that SFA would not be interested in extending their lease beyond mid-2020, when current deal ends. A sale was expected by the end of 2018, but didn't come.
The main reason was the Glasgow City Council's refusal to waive a floating charge unless they had a say in the future of the stadium.
Finally, yesterday both sides announced they had reached an agreement and the contract is signed. Transfer of ownership is worth £5 million and will be effective on August 1, 2020. The date is dictated by current lease of the ground by SFA and contractual obligations towards UEFA, as Hampden will host Euro 2020.
Change of ownership should allow serious investment in the stadium, which Queens Park would be unable to make themselves. Changes are needed by both SFA and Scottish football supporters. While the national football association needs to boost commercial potential of the stadium, fans have been very critical of poor facilities, sightlines and accessibility of the stadium.
For Queens Park it's a difficult time. While the club could not sustain a stadium that large or fund redevelopment, it has owned it for many decades and leaving home is always painful, even if you're moving just next door.
“Whilst it is a sad day for the club as proud owners of the National Stadium, the conclusion of these protracted discussions and negotiations, will allow the club to fully focus on building our future at an upgraded Lesser Hampden.
“We must now look forward to ensure we remain a vibrant and competitive football club within Scottish football. To this end we will be shortly commencing works, on what is presently known as Lesser Hampden, to convert it into a Licensed Ground for our competitive matches.” a statement by QPFC reads.