POLICE have warned they will face "human and financial costs" if the home of Scottish football moves from Glasgow to Edinburgh.

The body representing the rank and file of Scotland's national force has flagged up what it calls "not inconsiderable policing implications" of switching major games from Hampden to Murrayfield.

Concern from the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) about the proposed move comes amid private concerns among law enforcement about the prospect of regular Old Firm matches in a capital unused to such events.

The Scottish Football Association is set to make a decision on its future home - and effectively the venue of six cup finals and semi-finals a year - by the end of this month.

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Law enforcement and some footballing insiders are already highlighting the risks of convoys of Rangers and Celtic supports in cars with flags racing along the M8 to and from crunch League Cup and Scottish Cup ties. There are also concerns about the sheer manpower that would be needed to marshal west coast fans - whose clubs routinely make the final stages of cup competitions - by train between Glasgow and the capital and when they are in and around Murrayfield.

SPF General Secretary Calum Steele said: "Ultimately this is a matter for football authorities and I am agnostic about it.

"But the simple reality is that if a decision is taken to take the out of Glasgow will have not inconsiderable policing implications."

Mr Steele stressed that costs would be both human and financial, with large numbers of officers experienced in football policing behind moved to Edinburgh for games.

Mr Steele said policing a match involving one or more of the two big Glasgow clubs in Edinburgh would take much longer than in Glasgow.

"What might have been a policing operation that starts an hour or two before kick-off and an hour or two after the final whistle will start several hours before the game and continue several hours after.

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Murrayfield

He added: "There will be knock-on costs - borne by the police - of having 100,000 fans in Murrayfield or nearby pubs, perhaps 50,000 a side, spilling in to a city centre unfamiliar with games of this scale bar the Hibs-Hearts derby."

"Fans will be celebrating or commiserating themselves in Edinburgh. The last train from Edinburgh is after eleven pm. So the actual policing costs will go on well beyond the regulated period of the sporting event."

The SFA will have to foot some of that bill, for policing in and around the stadium during this regulated period. But, Mr Steele warned, it would be up to Police Scotland to pay for officers trying to keep rival fans apart in Edinburgh and between Edinburgh and Glasgow for much of the rest of the day.

Mr Steele and other sources are not saying it would be impossible to police a major tie between the Old Firm - or arch-rivals such as Aberdeen, Hibs or Hearts.

Six Rangers fans were this week arrested for allegedly attacking police in Maribor, Slovenia, and football and policing sources say they concerned about what they fear may be the first signs of renewed hooliganism in the Scottish game.

The official force view is understood to be that they would meet whatever challenges were raised by any move. Edinburgh officers have successfully policed major events in the past, including the current fringe and major rugby games.

Cameron Rose, a former police inspector and current Tory councillor in the capital, said it was simply a matter of resources.

He said: I see no policing reason why national and big ticket games should not be at Murrayfield - providing adequate policing resources are provided.

"There have been complaints since Police Scotland was formed that policing numbers were proportionately higher in the West to the detriment of other areas. Adequate policing is essential."

Mr Rose added: "In addition, Murrayfield has around 25 per cent greater capacity and football is not the preserve of Glasgow. But it is a matter for the SFA."The SFA board is set to announce whether its intend to remain at Hampden after their lease runs out following the Euro 2020 finals or move through to Murrayfield. Aside from cup finals and semis, the rugby ground would also be expected to host Scotland's home internationals, though these have not been problematic in recent years.