NO football will be played at Hampden for a year – including the 2014 Scottish Cup and League Cup finals and semi-finals – to enable the stadium to host the Commonwealth Games athletics.
Scotland’s national football stadium had been earmarked as the venue for track and field in two years’ time and the details of the transformation were announced last night following talks with stadium management, football parties and Glasgow 2014 organisers.
A joint statement revealed that the final football match at Hampden, the home of Queen’s Park, would be played in November 2013 before work begins on the installation of a temporary running track. Work to remove the track will begin immediately after the Games and the stadium will be back to normal by “late 2014”.
The timetable should see Scotland able to play a potential World Cup qualifying play-off at Hampden next year but the first few games of their Euro 2016 campaign will have to take place elsewhere, along with the domestic 2014 semi-finals and finals. An SFA statement read: “We support the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee’s efforts in bringing world-class athletics to the city and, in particular, to the home of football. Hampden Park is an iconic part of Glasgow’s history and heritage and, rightly, it should be the centrepiece for the Commonwealth Games activities. Naturally, this will have an impact on Scotland international matches and Scottish Cup ties but we promised our support to the bid from the beginning and today reaffirms that backing.
“Contingency plans are well underway with prospective venues and I am sure all sports fans will understand the need to give Glasgow 2014 and Hampden Park Ltd our full support.”
Scottish Football League chief executive David Longmuir added: “The Scottish Football League is delighted that the national stadium will take centre stage at the 2014 Commonwealth Games. We will work with Queens Park and other member clubs to ensure that suitable arrangements are made for all displaced league fixtures.”
Queen’s Park president Ross Caven said: “We’ve all been working extremely hard with our colleagues in Hampden Park Ltd and the 2014 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee. We’re very encouraged with progress so far and are confident we will be able to ensure successful games for Glasgow.”
The work will raise the surface of the arena by 1.9m and create a 44,000-seater stadium for the Games, returning to a 52,063 capacity afterwards.
Stadium managing director Peter Dallas added: “The Commonwealth Games will add world-class athletes to the list of greats who have enjoyed the Hampden experience.”