Hampden: SFA confident of Euro 2028 but no major changes to stadium as bid for UEFA final set out
Ian Maxwell is confident a UK and Ireland bid to host Euro 2028 can be successful despite a rival challenge from Turkey.
The SFA chief executive also hopes to bring another European club final to Hampden Park within the next six years.
However, Maxwell admits the decision to abandon a bid to host the World Cup in 2030 and instead focus on a Euros proposal will impact on the scale of renovations fans can expect to see at the national stadium.
Hopes were high that redevelopment plans would be quickly unveiled after the SFA bought Hampden Park from Queen’s Park in 2019, just months before Covid struck.
But Maxwell has warned supporters to adjust their sights and expect only “incremental” upgrades instead.
“We’re going through the process for Euro 2028,” he revealed. “We had a bid meeting last week and we now have information from UEFA on what we’d need to do and provide, which is extensive as you can imagine.
“What it means for Hampden will be interesting,” he added. “When we talked about a big reconstruction of the stadium it was more in a World Cup context. Because that’s a bigger event, it would help us leverage more financial support. Whether we would have the same level with a Euros, remains to be seen – it probably makes it more unlikely that we’ll get that significant number (of finance).
“But what it would do, as we saw with Euro 2020, is allow us to upgrade a lot of the hospitality boxes and kiosks, which are now contactless.”
Maxwell believes Scotland’s recent success in hosting four games at Euro 2020 will help boost UK and Ireland’s chances of hosting Euro 2028.
“UEFA aren’t daft, they’ve been hit as hard as anyone due to Covid so they’ll be looking at the Euros and trying to recoup some of that money,” he said.
“The commercial benefit of the next few Euros will be important to them.
“People know what they get with the UK in terms of our ability to put on major events. We have a pedigree in that. I’m not saying Turkey don’t, but we’ve delivered it before so there’s no reason why we can’t again.”
Hampden could be put forward to host another European club final. The last time the ground staged such an occasion was the 2007 UEFA Cup final between Spanish clubs Espanyol and Sevilla.
Hampden is currently too small to stage another Champions League final. “We’re at 2022 now and bidding for 2028, but is there something we can stick in between, like a European final or other games or events, which keep us improving the stadium,” said Maxwell.