Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack has spoken out after his attempts to get fans back into Pittodrie this weekend for the visit of Celtic were rejected.
The Dons host Hamilton Accies in the north-east tonight in a rearranged Premiership match. But Cormack and co had already been looking to the weekend’s match with Celtic.
Pittodrie had successfully hosted trial events in September to gauge how easy it would be to bring supporters back into stadiums.
Whilst the 300 fans experiment was well-received, rolling it out across the entire Scottish Premiership was rejected as Scotland battles a surge in Covid-19 cases.
Cormack has pushed for more test events to arrive in the Granite City this weekend ahead of Celtic coming to town. Again though this suggestion has been swiftly rejected by the authorities.
It’s a blow for the return of supporters across Scottish football. Cormack says he’d like to see all parties work together on a solution to this, despite punters through the turnstiles looking some way off.
“We’re only asking for a timeline towards resuming test events – we’re not seeking anything that would not comply with the current restrictions or take account of the current COVID situation,” said Cormack. “Our first test represented only 1.5% of the stadium capacity and all we are asking is to increase that to 10%.
“At the outset of the pandemic Professor Jason Leitch told a meeting of all Premiership clubs that having fans in stadiums outdoors, in the fresh air, was much more palatable than indoor events.
“It’s therefore with growing frustration that we are forced to sit back and watch the discrepancies which allow passengers on full flights with no social distancing, people participating in indoor activities, such as going to the cinema, or the new restrictions on alcohol in licensed premises which are inadvertently pushing people into unregulated and unauthorised gatherings in homes.
“Meanwhile, watching football outdoors, in a regulated environment, on a game-by-game test basis, is in limbo after only two successful tests. Since running our test event back in September which demonstrated that, with our rigorous protocols and procedures in place, we could safely accommodate significantly larger crowds, we’ve heard nothing concrete about steps towards getting fans safely back to football.
“With no visibility or certainty around the return of even partial crowds we, like other clubs, are facing major financial and operational challenges. Indeed, the consequences for our Club and for Scottish football are dire.
“Whilst we fully accept that public health is the priority, compared to other less regulated choices, football has clearly demonstrated that we can welcome back outdoor partial crowds in a safe and highly regulated manner.”