How much Scotland will earn from Euro 2024 as Steve Clarke urges SFA to put qualification money towards national training centre
Steve Clarke hopes Scotland’s current success in qualifying for major tournaments can be maintained to help finance a new training facility that merits comparison to England’s national football centre at St George's Park.
The Scotland manager knows it won’t be him enjoying the benefit of such a set-up. Now 60 and contracted until the next World Cup, he is more focused on short-term challenges such as progressing past the group stage at Euro 2024. But he feels investing in a well-appointed training base for all Scotland football teams trumps significantly revamping Hampden Park, which is already set for a pre-Euro 2028 refurbishment.
“If you are asking me if I would rather have a training ground than a refurbished Hampden – Hampden will get refurbished for the 2028 Euros,” he said.
"If that refurbish is adequate then I would be saying look to put your money into a training facility that belongs to the Scottish FA and then you can look to move the game forward. You can use it as a facility for the men’s A, the women’'s A and then hopefully all the under-age groups moving down the way. That is something we should look at.”
Scotland are set to receive a near €10 million participation fee for reaching Euro 2024. In addition, there will be other revenue streams spinning off the high-profile event, with Scotland involved in the opening game against Germany. Qualifying for a World Cup for the first time since 1998 would undoubtedly help as well.
“Being realistic, two tournament qualifications in 25 years is not going to help us,” said Clarke. “You would need to look at another two or three, or three out of the next four, or three out of the next five, a constant extra revenue coming into the association and maybe then they can think about it.
“I can start the process,” he added. “I never think too much about myself. Maybe you see that sometimes. But, if I’m in the fortunate position to be head coach with a really talented group of players – which I am – then this is the time to start trying to build something for the future.
“Hopefully it could be just one head coach down the line – or maybe two or three head coaches down the line – before we actually get there. But, either way, that will mean we’ve been consistently successful and then hopefully we can end up with a nice product.”
Scotland are currently based at Lesser Hampden, which has been leased back to the SFA as part of an arrangement where Queen’s Park return to play their home fixtures at the national stadium. The men’s A-squad quit Oriam, their previous base on the outskirts of Edinburgh, earlier this year amid some controversy, with assistant manager John Carver criticising the quality of the pitches. The facility was shared with the Scotland rugby team.
“Oriam was the venue that I was asked to use,” said Clarke. “It was fine. Initially, it was perfect, it served its purpose.”
The manager does not count himself among the many Hampden naysayers. “It’s brilliant,” he said. “Have you not been to any of the games this year? When Hampden is full it’s rocking and it’s very historical as well. You’ve got to realise it means a lot to the players as well to play at Hampden.”
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