Scottish FA CEO Ian Maxwell said that bringing the 2030 World Cup to Scotland as part of a joint bid with the other Home Nations "will help secure the substantial funding needed to redevelop Hampden," according to Matthew Lindsay of the HERALD SCOTLAND. The SFA agreed to buy the Glasgow stadium from Scottish League Two side Queen's Park for £5M ($6.5M) when the current lease expires after Euro 2020. The governing body needed the offer of £2.5M ($3.3M) from millionaire Scottish businessman Willie Haughey in the past month to reach an agreement. Maxwell, who hailed the decision as "monumental" for the game in Scotland, admitted the SFA "will now look to attract further public and private investment and redevelop the Mount Florida venue." The organization will hold talks with its counterparts in England, Northern Ireland and Wales this autumn to "discuss the feasibility of bringing the 2030 World Cup to the four countries." Maxwell admitted that stadium sponsorship "was another possibility the SFA will explore." He said, "There are opportunities in that area. It is a challenging market" (HERALD SCOTLAND, 9/11). In Edinburgh, Stephen Halliday reported Maxwell "accepts that significant fresh improvements are needed to protect the status of Hampden," which will be one of the host venues for Euro 2020, as a UEFA five-star stadium in the years ahead. He said, "If we can bring a World Cup here, what does that mean to the country? How can we leverage that? That would be a massive opportunity for us. We had a very brief discussion when we were all over in Russia for a FIFA congress and the plan is to meet up again in the short term and see exactly where those conversations can lead to -- it will be before Christmas. If there was a Home Nations bid, then that would be a strong proposition" (SCOTSMAN, 9/11).
PHOTO FINISH: In London, Ronnie Esplin reported the SFA came "incredibly close" to moving Scotland’s int'l matches to Murrayfield before agreeing to a deal to buy Hampden. Maxwell: "It was incredibly close. I sat in board meetings that got heated. The SRU [Scottish Rugby Union] put forward a very compelling case. I would have really enjoyed going to work with them at Murrayfield. I think we would have done well. But ownership is the game-changer. Owning our own stadium and being able to utilize that 24/7 gives us a real opportunity to make changes." Glasgow Chamber of Commerce welcomed the decision and said that there would be "countless businesses, bars, cafes and restaurants" celebrating around Hampden (LONDON TIMES, 9/12).
BURNING QUESTIONS: The BBC's Tom English wrote Maxwell revealed the SFA is "staying where it is, but he was less clear on the plans for the future." Football fans want a remodeled stadium "and he accepts that." Beyond a "promise to look into things, there was no real vision here, no grand plan." Where is the money coming from for the upgrade? Maxwell "reached for the old chestnuts of potential funding from Glasgow City Council and the Holyrood government." He also stated the benefits of owning the stadium "and reaping revenues from concerts and other events." The SFA "better get in the queue" and it should not "hold its breath when it gets there." Trying to get extra financial backing for a football stadium from local and national government "is a job that renowned promoter Barry Hearn on his A game would struggle to achieve." Concerts? There are "only so many worldwide acts that come to Scotland" and there is competition to get them. Maxwell "is going to have to do better than that." To get the Hampden that everybody wants "is going to cost considerable millions" (BBC, 9/11).