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Sports Minister Sam Galbraith
"The Scottish Executive will not be held to ransom"
 real 28k

BBC Scotland's Bob Wylie
"It looks likely that this matter will go into extra time"
 real 28k

Sports finance analyst Steven Morrow
"The administrator's duty is to try to find a way round this problem"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 11 January, 2000, 21:56 GMT
Galbraith names D-day on Hampden plan

New Hampden Plenty razzmatazz ... and much controversy

Sports minister Sam Galbratih has said he will give Queens Park FC until Friday to reconsider the Hampden Park rescue package.

The owners of the financially beleagured national stadium dismayed Mr Galbraith when they rejected a 4.4m offer from the Scottish Executive.

He said on Tuesday that the resuce plan was a final one and he would not be held to ransom by Queens Park FC.

Mr Galbraith is adamant that no more money is available to help pay the final bills of the refurbishment project and if Queens Park FC does not have a change of heart by Friday there will be no more deals.

What we can't have is the government once again being held to ransom - there is no more money
Sam Galbraith

Mr Galbraith announced last month that following negotiations with Queen's Park FC, who own the stadium, a 4.4m rescue package had been agreed subject to legal documentation.

But it was revealed by BBC Scotland on Monday that the deal was off and an interim administrator had been called in.

The minister said: "Now for some reason Queens Park Football Club want to walk away from this.

"They should think clearly about this - the ball is now very much in their court."

'Good deal' on table

Mr Galbraith said he was dismayed and baffled by the club's decision when a "good deal" was on the table and ready to be signed.

He added: "What we can't have is the government once again being held to ransom - there is no more money, everything is now on the table.

Sam Galbraith Sam Galbraith: Believed the deal had been done
"This is a great deal for Queens Park. They are being offered an annual income of 200,000 plus the use of the stadium that they do not have the up-keel of."

Mr Galbraith is to make an statement on the issue after opposition demands for an update.

More than 2m of government money had been pledged to meet debts incurred during the 63m rebuilding of Hampden and the Scottish Football Association was going to take over the running of the stadium.

The Scottish National Party said Mr Galbraith must explain why he got it so badly wrong.

Statement demand

Sports spokeswoman Fiona McLeod MSP said: "We really have to get to the bottom of it and put Hampden on a sound footing for the future.

"Given the amount of public money invested in Hampden and also the fact that it's our national stadium, I think it's the Scottish Parliament that has to take a lead.

"We want an emergency statement from the minister to tell us what exactly has gone wrong in the last three weeks."

Hampden sign The project has been beset by problems
The Tories' sports spokesman Brian Monteith MSP echoed the call for a statement. "The public has a right to expect the government to tell us what has been happening," he said.

"I think there may well be some brinksmanship involved. If that is the case and one has to say that the appearance is that the Scottish Executive has not been taking a strong enough lead.

"Sam Galbraith has to make it clear to the Queen's Park directors that there will be no more money."

Meanwhile, government sources said ministers would provide no more money, even though the shortfall putting the future of Scotland's national stadium in jeopardy was understood to be less than 100,000.

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See also:
16 Dec 99 |  Scotland
Hampden deal agreed - Galbraith
14 Dec 99 |  Scotland
Hampden deal still in balance, says club
13 Dec 99 |  Scotland
Hampden rescue package a step nearer
12 Dec 99 |  Scotland
Hampden rescue deal on table
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

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