SCOTLAND’S Rugby body, the SRU, have stated that BT Murrayfield has the capacity and the capability to become the new home of Scottish football.
The lease agreement for Hampden is nearing its end and the SFA have seemingly listened to criticism about the 52,063 venue and are now discussing the future stadium for international matches, William Hill Scottish Cup finals and Betfred Cup finals.
This discussion has opened up the possibility of 67,000 seater Murrayfield being considered by the SFA as a potential venue, with Dominic Mckay, SRU’s Chief Operating Officer, suggesting that Murrayfield had the potential to create a unique atmosphere and become a great venue for supporters.
“It would create a very special atmosphere. I think it would create an atmosphere which could, in a neutral city, be quite interesting, quite positive.
“From our point of view, we believe we’ve got a very special stadium. We’ve hosted European Cup finals here, we’ve hosted outstanding rugby matches, but we’ve also hosted football games here regularly.
“So we know we can do it, we know we can put on a great show. The city is an outstanding backdrop, the transport is pretty good. We’re always in the market for major events and the conversation with the guys at the SFA has led us to put our best foot forward.”
The SFA are believed to have met with the SRU prior to the Hearts match with Rangers last month, where around 14,000 away supporters descended upon the capital. However, McKay also reckons that the Rugby chiefs have the knowhow to cope with a match between Celtic and Rangers.
“We’ve certainly spent a lot of time as part of our bid preparation highlighting how we would manage those big football internationals, but also those big football cup finals that might or might not come out of Hampden.
“We would absolutely work hand in glove with our friends at the SFA and various stakeholders. It’s an outstanding stadium that lends itself in many respects to managing large volumes of crowds that require to be segregated. We would leave no stone unturned to ensure the spectators from both sides have a great experience.
“We’re unique in some respects in world rugby to have this space for us to play with. I’m not sure about all the football grounds, but we’ve got a lot of space at the back here and front and outstanding transport links. There are not many games that you can jump off a tram and wander down the steps straight into a fan village. So we’ll try and use that to our advantage.”
There have been calls from Scotland legends such as Kenny Dalglish to ignore the requests of the SRU and remain at Scotland’s spiritual home; meanwhile, others have called for either a redevelopment of Hampden or a new custom built stadium to be used as the national stadium.
The SRU have recently rented out their stadium to Hearts as they continued the work on their main stand at Tynecastle while in 2014 Celtic played two Champions League qualifiers at Murrayfield as Celtic Park was being used for the Commonwealth Games.