Scotland missed out on £8m by failing to reach 2022 World Cup, says SFA chief

Ukraine ended Scotland's hopes of a first men's World Cup appearance in 24 years when they won 3-1 at Hampden in the play-off semi-final this month
Ukraine ended Scotland's hopes of a first men's World Cup appearance in 24 years when they won 3-1 at Hampden in the play-off semi-final this month

Scotland missed out on around £8m by failing to qualify for this year's men's World Cup, according to Scottish FA chief executive Ian Maxwell.

But he is backing manager Steve Clarke in the wake of "knee-jerk" criticism.

After a meek play-off loss to Ukraine, the Scots were stunned 3-0 by Republic of Ireland in the Nations League.

Maxwell said that defeat, which came in between wins over Armenia, was due to the players' World Cup heartbreak. "It definitely hangs about," he said.

"There's been a couple of bad performances and I think we underestimated the impact the performance and result against Ukraine had on the players. That would have been massive.

"When a World Cup we've not been to as a country for so long is so close and taken away, they will have been absolutely devastated.

"You get the feeling people would change manager after a defeat. There's always going to be those counter opinions.

"Do we see progress since Steve took charge? Yes, there's no absolutely no argument about that. We want to see that continued progression."

Maxwell said Scotland earned 9.5m euros (£8.2m) for reaching Euro 2020 last summer - the men's national team's first major tournament since 1998 - and a similar figure was at stake for Qatar this winter.

"I think the World Cup was $9.5m (£7.7m) so it's actually a bit less given the exchange rate," he told BBC Scotland Sportsound.

"We don't lose it because we don't budget for it. That money lets you do things you can't do at the moment. It is the slush fund that allows us to do the bigger and better."

'Relations good' with women's squad

Maxwell also said "relations are good" between the Scottish FA and the national women's team, despite high-profile players having accused the association of not providing them with the same resources as the men's side.

Two months on from that row over ticket sales, Pedro Martinez Losa's side are on the brink of securing a World Cup play-off place after beating Ukraine 4-0 on Friday.

"Relations have been good since I've been in post," said Maxwell. "I know [captain] Rachel Corsie well enough that she can pick up the phone and have a conversation at any time.

"We have [head of women's and girls' football] Fiona McIntyre in post now who is that link between the players and the association.

"We're all on the same journey with the women's and girls' game. People will talk about resources and point fingers at the association. We can't do it on our own. It takes commercial and broadcast partners to want to drive the game."

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