The future of Scotland’s national stadium will be decided before the year is out, according to reports.
The Daily Mail reports that a decision will be made on the future of Hampden Park by Christmas, with the stadium’s status as the preferred venue for home internationals and national cup finals believed to be at risk.
The current least on the arena runs out in 2020, but the Scottish FA would have to take up an option to rewnew the lease for another 20 years by March 2018.
However, the cost of renting the stadium from amateur owners Queen’s Park is believed to be particularly expensive, and Hampden’s business rates could rocket by more than £300,000 as part of a revaluation by the government.
Scotland’s football clubs could end up having to foot the bill of renting and maintaining the stadium, and it is understood that the response to an SFA letter sent to all teams across Scotland regarding the use of Hampden going forward has been largely muted.
Sources within the SFA told the Daily Mail that any decision taken in December may not be binding, despite SFA chief executive Stewart Regan describing Hampden as the ‘preferred option’ in June of this year.
Regan said: “Any board faces with a lease expiry in three years’ time would have a very long, hard look at the implications of renewing that lease.”
National team boss Gordon Strachan has described the stadium as ‘special’ but fans of both Scotland and Scotland’s club sides have long bemoaned the poor view from some parts of the arena.
Previous Scotland internationals have been held away from Hampden, while the stadium was being developed or in use for the Commonwealth Games.
Since the mid-1990s, matches have been played at Hibernian’s Easter Road stadium, Pittodrie in Aberdeen, Rugby Park in Kilmarnock, Hearts’ stadium Tynecastle as well as Ibrox and Celtic Park.