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SFA chief wants to see 'regular' Scotland qualifications for major tournaments

SFA chief wants to see 'regular' Scotland qualifications for major tournaments
© Reuters
Scotland will play the Czech Republic and Croatia at Hampden Park, with a trip to Wembley to play England in between.

Scottish Football Association chief executive Ian Maxwell wants Euro 2020 qualification to be the start of regular appearances in major finals for Scotland.

The Scots will soon be preparing for summer tournament football for the first time since the 1998 World Cup finals in France and will play the Czech Republic and Croatia at Hampden Park, with a trip to Wembley to play England in between.

Maxwell was speaking on the day that the SFA published 'The Power of Football', the first part of a strategic plan designed to improve the national game at all levels up to and including the World Cup in 2030.

With a nod to the 23 years since Scotland's men's side have been to a finals, and the upcoming 2022 World Cup in Qatar, he said: "The women's A squad have done fantastically well to qualify for the World Cup and the Euros and unfortunately just missed out on the most recent one.

"We want to get them back qualifying as regularly as we can and everyone sees the bonus of having the Euros at Hampden and the men's team qualifying for that.

"We need to make sure that is happening at the men's level in particular, every 23 months rather than 23 years.

"A fundamental objective is that alongside the clubs, we are developing international quality players and that has to be our aim and that will obviously help drive success at men's A squad, but also throughout the youth age groups in both men and women's football."

One of the six key pillars identified is the modernisation of Hampden Park.

Maxwell revealed the remit is widespread, including the idea of a fight for Josh Taylor, who became Britain's first undisputed world champion in the four-belt era by defeating Jose Ramirez in Las Vegas on Sunday morning.

He said: "Everything is on the agenda. I think it is fair to say that we are looking at the stadium primarily as a football venue, we also need to think about it in a wider events context, what events that would drive revenue.

"Mike Tyson fought there before and we obviously have Josh Taylor who did fantastically well at the weekend and the opportunity for him to fight in a capacity Hampden is one that everybody would look forward to.

"We need to keep everything on the table and be as open as we can as to how we can develop it into the best it can be.

"Sodexo, our stadium partner, are looking at kiosks and hospitality suites and what we can do to make the experience better when the supporters are there.

Hampden Park will host two of Scotland's group games at Euro 2020
Hampden Park will host two of Scotland's group games at Euro 2020 (Jeff Holmes/PA)

"Hampden gets a bit of a bad reputation but I think that is just a bit of narrative that has started to develop.

"When you go round Europe to the games, Hampden is far from the worst stadium that we are ever in.

"We have the World Cup 2030 bid and obviously we are in a feasibility process with that and can we leverage that to look at the infrastructure and the layout of the stadium.

"Obviously we have the transport issues and links to and from the stadium, we need to work with partners to make sure people can get in and out as straightforwardly as possible.

"So there is a lot to do. It is a big challenge and part of the reason for purchasing the stadium is the opportunity it gives us and now we need to drive that forward."

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