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David Taylor, SFA chief executive
"We are at the end game - we may have a potential solution"
 real 28k

BBC Scotland's Rob Flett
"The Scottish Football Association must agree to take over the management of the project"
 real 28k

Sunday, 12 December, 1999, 18:02 GMT
Hampden rescue deal on table

Hampden Park The stadium was refurbished at a cost of 63m

A rescue package which could see Scotland's financially-beleaguered national stadium being brought out of the red is expected to be announced on Monday.

The new Scottish Football Association chief David Taylor has confirmed that the long running saga over who pays the shortfall for Hampden Park's 63m facelift is now at the "end game" stage.

He said on Sunday he was not willing to divulge the details of the agreement - understood to be worth 4m and involving the Scottish Executive and the Millennium Commission - but he told BBC Scotland's Ruth Wishart that a solution was possible.

Hampden Park The new Hampden has a 52,500 capactiy
"I cannot speak about this matter prior to Monday's meeting, but I think I can say we are at the end game here. We may have a potential solution," said Mr Taylor.

Media speculation was rife on Sunday that part of the deal is linked to a Scottish Executive agreement to hand over 2.2m of public money.

The subsidy, which is due to be made official on Monday by education and culture minister Sam Galbraith, is believed to be at the cost of spending projects in the education and culture budget.

But government officials deny money will have to be siphoned off from education.

Despite the executive's expected financial gesture, the SFA will not be ploughing in any more money to the project.

Mr Taylor added: "It was not a mistake to go ahead with the refurbishment.

David Taylor David Taylor: "Deal is close"
"We do want a national stadium, we have always been in favour of that.

"The decision about where the national stadium should be was made some years ago.

"Hampden was chosen for both financial and historic reasons. I wasn't party to those discussions at that time.

"We now have a magnificent new home. We can make it work for the good of Scottish football and generate resources for its future."

The new 52,500 capacity stadium hit financial crisis after the main contractor, Sir Robert McAlpine, issued a 4m writ for unpaid work.

As part of a deal to pay off the builders, they were handed a gift of 1,200 debenture seats which gives them guaranteed places for all international matches for 20 years.

Austin Reilly Austin Reilly: Regrets debenture deal
A fortnight ago the boss of the national stadium, Austin Reilly, admitted that move might have been a mistake.

The rescue plan could yet see the SFA taking over the management of the stadium from its current owners, Queens Park Football Club.

That is something Mr Taylor says the association will consider seriously.

The Scottish Executive has already come under fire from opposition parties for agreeing to find a way of helping the struggling refurbishment project.

It is expected to be criticised heavily when it announces the 2.2m handout.

Three other organisations - Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Development Agency and SportScotland - are expected make up any additional shortfall.

Moves to solve Hampden Park's financial problems comes in the wake of Uefa's announcement that the Glasgow stadium will host the 2002 European Cup Final.

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See also:
11 Dec 99 |  Sport
Hampden to host Euro final
09 Nov 99 |  Scotland
'Cover up' row over Hampden facelift
27 Sep 99 |  Scotland
SFA set to 'guarantee' Hampden's future
09 Sep 99 |  Scotland
New bid to resolve Hampden wrangle
29 Aug 99 |  Scotland
Fraud squad called in to Hampden
03 Aug 99 |  Sport
Hampden chief denies debt crisis

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