THE cost of redeveloping Hampden along similar lines to the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Stuttgart could cost up to £90million according to the architect behind the project for the German side.

Eberhard Becker of Stuttgart-based firm ASP was responsible for the redesign of the stadium, which saw the stands either side of the old running track demolished and the pitch lowered to accommodate the construction of two steep-sided stands closer to the pitch.

Ian Maxwell, chief executive of the Scottish Football Association, pledged to investigate the feasibility of a similar project to bring in the ends at Hampden following the decision to buy the stadium outright on Tuesday, but Becker has warned that such a project would not come cheaply.

“Our costs were about 80 million Euros in 2011, but building costs these days are higher, so it would be much more expensive now,” said Becker. “I would think it would be 15% or 20% more nowadays.”

That estimate is based upon a like-for-like comparison, but Becker points out that there could be savings to be made if there are significant differences in what non-football facilities are required at Hampden than what was required of him when he reimagined Stuttgart’s ground.

“It depends very much on what they include in the stadium,” he said. “If they have a gym or a hotel for instance, or turn it into a business venue, this would all be different from just putting in a few snack bars for fans.

“We included a gymnastics stadium for another 2000 people, where people got to watch handball or basketball for instance, and we also created a big business lounge where nearly every day there is a conference on. The important thing is to make the stadium useable during the week,

“The gym we had was 20 million euros, and extending the roof was 10 million euros, so it depends a lot what you want to do.

“But yes, these days it would be more expensive.”

When Stuttgart started work on the project back in 2009, their funding came both from the club itself and from the city. Glasgow City Council was name-checked by Maxwell when discussing possible sources of revenue for the redevelopment of Hampden on Tuesday, and it appears funding from either local or national government will be the key if the national stadium is to be improved on such a scale.

An obstacle that Becker and his team had which presumably the SFA wont after 2020 is time, with Bundesliga matches still going on while work was being carried out at the Mercedes-Benz Arena, but he explained the common hurdles that would exist in Glasgow as they did in Germany, and the common benefits that would be the end result.

“We had to lower the pitch to add some rows in the main stand and the opposite stand,” he said.

“We had to do that in the summer break and had to guarantee that it would be ready for the first match. Then we did the first curve and put it directly behind the goal, and the next season we did the next stand.

“The stands used to be really far away from the pitch because of the athletics track, so the first row was about 45 metres behind the goal, and so many people could hardly see anything of the match.

“It was very wide and very open, so there wasn’t really a good atmosphere, but now everything is very near and very close to the pitch, and there is a very good atmosphere in the stadium.

“If you go closer to the pitch, you have to make sure that the stands are not too flat, because then the people won’t see anything. That was a problem, because if you make the steps steeper, then you lose capacity.

“The solution was to lower the pitch down and that made sure that the sight-lines were very good.”

One man who thinks that the refurbishment could pay for itself though is former footballer Paul Fletcher, who is now an expert on stadia and was commercial director of the redeveloped Wembley Stadium.

And he says that the SFA’s first port of call should be to someone like him, who will prioritise turning Hampden into a commercial building.

“It’s easy for me to say this, but this has just got to happen,” said Fletcher. “It’s going to cost a lot of money, but if you design commerciality into it, then there is a chance it could pay for itself in 15 to 20 years. You have to look to the future.

“You can’t only worry about the next 12 months, there has to be a longer-term vision.

“I remember in the early days [of the Wembley redevelopment] I was one of five directors alongside Ken Bates as chairman. One of the conditions of the funding we took from UK Athletics was that there had to be a running track around the pitch, but Ken Bates said that we wanted to build the best football stadium in the world, so there would be no running track.

“When I got there it was a £440million project, and it ended up costing the best part of £800million, but the FA managed to fund it and it seems to have done pretty well since.

“We have a football university there teaching students the business of football, and there are lots of other initiatives there that are going on. It’s a great example, albeit on a larger scale.

“This has to be a commercial building, so they have to speak to commercial people."

Fletcher believes the SFA could achieve the dual aim of increasing revenue and improving the matchday experience if they get this right.

“In a perfect world you would flatten it and start from scratch, but I don’t think the finance will be in place to do that," he said. "If they do the ends, they can do it one at a time and bring the stands closer in, and the priority should be how they can do that and use the stadium to make money on non-football days.

“What we do in the UK is build the stadium for football, play the game, and then everyone wonders what to do next. The reason I would ask the SFA to talk to me is because I have now done six or seven stadiums and learned from each one what to do and what not to do.

"I would be more than happy to share my experiences so that they can make the stadium much better for fans, but also to increase revenue."