Aberdeen have submitted a new bid for the return of fans to Pittodrie for 1,000 supporters for our match against Ross County on 12 December and for 2,000 fans for our matches against St Johnstone on Boxing Day and our New Year match against Dundee Utd on 2 January.
That’s the same nunmber of fans permitted into to Tier 2 grounds in England and it has been supported by leading expert in epidemiology Professor Gary Macfarlane who is Chair in Epidemiology at the University of Aberdeen. Professor Macfarlane is also the university’s Dean for Interdisiplinary Research and Research Impact and an honorary consultant in the Department of Public Health with NHS Grampian.
He said: “I have reviewed the impressively robust and detailed operational plans and protocols which AFC have developed. They fully take account of the measures which have been recommended by the Scottish Government to control the spread of the virus in such settings.”
“It is my view that the highly-regulated, outdoor environment at Pittodrie, tested with just over 2,000 fans socially distanced at two metres, would ensure that the risk to individuals is extremely low.”
Rob Wicks, AFC’s commercial director said: “The knock-on impact into next season could be catastrophic financially for the Club and community projects if we cannot give our fans some glimmer of hope that they will be back watching games at Pittodrie soon.
“We would like to think that our plan for a modest, incremental increase in the number of fans able to attend matches would be approved by the authorities. With only three limited, but successful, Premiership trials with 300 fans to date, there’s a clear need and a desire among clubs to test their protocols and procedures with higher numbers, which, in the case of Pittodrie, is supported by the detailed independent review carried out by Professor Gary Macfarlane.
“While it does cost more to open Pittodrie for limited crowds, versus closed doors, we want to offer our fans some hope of getting back to football. Through our community outreach, we’ve spoken with over 16,000 fans in the last six months. Many are struggling with anxiety, loneliness and depression. Allowing our fans, many of whom live for the game, to gradually return safely to Pittodrie starting in December will bring them some welcome relief, joy and hope.”