Hampden Park to close for one year for Glasgow 2014 preparations
Sunday, 07 October 2012
October 7 - Hampden Park, Scotland's national football stadium, will be closed for a year from November 2013 when the facility is converted into a temporary athletics venue for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The 52,060 capacity stadium in Glasgow is the home venue of Scotland's national football team and amateur Scottish Football League (SFL) club Queen's Park, and is also used for the latter stages of Scotland's major football cups competitions.
However, all football matches scheduled to take place there between November 2013 and the conclusion of the Commonwealth Games in August 2014 will be relocated to other football arenas in Scotland, including Celtic Park and Ibrox Stadium.
Queen's Park will relocate for part of the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 seasons.
The decision was made to close the stadium for a year following meetings between Hampden Park Limited, Glasgow 2014, the Scottish Football Association (SFA), the SFL and Queen's Park Football Club, who play in the Scottish Third Division.
"For decades, Hampden Park has witnessed world-class footballers playing at the peak of their profession," said Hampden Park managing director Peter Dallas.
"Some of the planet's biggest music stars have also played at the stadium enjoying the unique atmosphere and energy created at Hampden.
"The Commonwealth Games will add world-class athletes to the list of greats who have enjoyed the Hampden experience.
"The Games will be something the entire nation can look forward to and be proud of."
The installation of the temporary 400-metre track and field facility means the level of Hampden's playing field must be raised by 1.9 metres, while capacity will be reduced to 44,000 before returning to its normal state when the venue is reopened as a football ground in late 2014.
Glasgow 2014 has been widely praised for its smooth preparation for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, but the conversion of Hampden Park, is considered one of the biggest risks to the entire project.
The first major warning came from independent public spending watchdog Audit Scotland earlier this year when they said "a risk of increased costs is greater if the development is delayed" while the warning was echoed by the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) Coordination Commission.
But Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg has said that the he feels the project is a risk worth taking.
"It is a risk," he told insidethegames earlier this year.
"As with every capital work project, it has risk.
"I wouldn't say it is exclusively a risk but what I will say is that it is a big project with lots of moving parts and it is pioneering in some respects.
"But we feel like we have the right approach by taking this on.
"It shows ambition and is a sustainable approach which is obviously very important to us.
"It is also an approach that we believe will leave a very positive marking the world of sport and on Glasgow.
"It is something we are taking very, very seriously."
Grevemberg will also be pleased that the venue will be closed for construction from November next year, giving his team a good amount of time to prepare the venue for the Commonwealth Games athletics competition, where the likes of Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah are expected to compete.
Meanwhile, it is not yet known if Queen's Park will be allowed to play some of their games in each of the two seasons at their home ground, or if the SFL will insist on them ground-sharing for two complete seasons.
They are said to have approached a number of clubs about a ground-sharing deal, which they hope to confirm by the end of the year.
"We will work with Queen's Park and other member clubs to ensure that suitable arrangements are made for all displaced league fixtures," said SFL chief executive David Longmuir.
"We will also turn our thoughts to possible venues for displaced League Cup semi-finals and the final itself."
May 2012: Exclusive - Hampden Park athletics track is a risk worth taking, says Glasgow 2014 chief
April 2012: Glasgow 2014 on track but warned over security and Hampden Park