UPDATE: Test event this weekend will only be for season ticket holders in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
Aberdeen have been given the go-ahead for a test event to take place this weekend for our match against Kilmarnock to host 300 home supporters following discussions between the Scottish Government and SFA and SPFL.
It is hoped the Club will get the go-ahead for a further test event for 750 season ticket holders for our match against Motherwell on September 20 “later this week”.
Sports Minister, Joe Fitzpatrick said: “No final decision has yet been taken regarding the general resumption of stadia events with restricted numbers of spectators and nothing should be taken for granted at this stage.
“However, the Scottish Government has agreed that the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) can hold two pilot events, each with 300 home supporters only, on September 12.
“A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes in recent months to create the protocols and testing regimes to allow top-level professional sport in Scotland to resume, and this arrangement follows extensive discussions with the Scottish FA, SPFL and clubs about public safety – particularly in relation to physical distancing and hygiene measures.
“The football authorities and the clubs involved have also been able to review and learn from the pilot event staged by Scottish Rugby on 28 August and we are confident there will be strict protocols in place at these two initial pilot football events.
“We are keeping all pilot events under close review.”
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “The Joint Response Group (JRG) is pleased to have received confirmation of pilot events at two Scottish Premiership fixtures on September 12 and I would like to thank the respective home clubs – and indeed all 12 Premiership clubs – for the comprehensive Return to Supporting plans.
“We look forward to building on the successful supporter rugby pilot at BT Murrayfield and I know that clubs take the responsibility for the safe return of supporters seriously.
“This is another significant step forward for Scottish football and I reiterate the importance of fans to our national game.
“The JRG will continue to liaise with all clubs, especially the home clubs, in the coming week to ensure all protocols and guidance are adhered to and that fans can look forward to a phased return to supporting their respective teams.”
The 300 fans will be selected from a ballot of season ticket holders:
- Season ticket holders who signed up before 10 July 2020 will be prioritised for the test event;
- Ballot to be held to allow for a spread of the season ticket holder base for test events;
- Ballot accessible from now until 5pm tomorrow (9 September 2020);
- Season ticket holders who are not successful in the ballot will continue to receive virtual season ticket access for free;
- South Stand to be used for test event, seats issued by Ticket Office;
After the first test event all season ticket holders who were not successful in the ballot (including those who purchased after 10th July) will have the opportunity to enter ballots for future matches.
It is envisaged that test events will run for a number of weeks, perhaps longer, gradually increasing in size if the trials are successful. The only way to gain access for future test events will be as a season ticket holder and these places will be non-transferable.
AFC’s Commercial Director, Rob Wicks, added, “Our guarantee to those who have purchased full season tickets is that they will get priority access for attending games this season and we are excited to be able to give some season ticket holders the opportunity to participate in this trial for the visit of Kilmarnock.
“It is their support which has helped and continues to help as we tackle the significant financial challenge in front of us and we want to do all that we can to recognise that.
“Our primary focus now is to build on the rigorous work that has been done so far to ensure we can host games at Pittodrie and extend that to provide a safe experience for our fans who have waited patiently for this opportunity. This is a learning process for us all and will require a bit more patience before we get back to the sort of crowds we were used to seeing before the pandemic began.
“This is a positive first step on the return to getting back to playing in front of larger crowds at Pittodrie and seeing the place rocking again, that is our focus and the commitment remains to invest in fan engagement and matchday experience to help re-establish Pittodrie as our fortress once again.”
How has the capacity been set?
The capacity has been set as a starting point by the authorities. Having a smaller number in a confined space inside the stadium to start with reduces the risk and will allow us to collect information to prepare for larger crowds over the coming weeks and months.
Why is it only the South Stand that is available?
Due to the capacity which has been set for the match by the authorities it did not make sense to open more than one stand. As the capacity increases, we will gradually open other stands until we have all four operating once again – hopefully this is sooner rather than later!
I purchased my season ticket after 10th July, what does this mean for me?
We made a commitment to the first 7,500 season ticket holders that they would be the priority for the first test event. If you signed-up after this date you will be eligible to enter the ballot from the second test event. You will continue to receive your virtual season ticket access for the match against Kilmarnock.
Have any other test matches been selected?
We await confirmation that 750 fans will be allowed into the Motherwell game. More on that once it’s confirmed.
What happens if I am successful in the ballot?
If you are successful, the Ticket Office will be in touch on Thursday 10th September to notify you.
You will then receive detailed admission information on what to expect on matchday.
What happens if I am unsuccessful in the ballot?
If you are unsuccessful, you will be given the opportunity to enter ballots for future test events.
You will continue to receive virtual season ticket access for the match via virtualst.afc.co.uk
Is there a maximum group size?
No, however you must all be from the same household group. Extended households will be considered on a case by case basis but must meet government criteria. (Single grandparent as part of a child’s household bubble, or partners who co-habit separately for example.)
Why have Priority Points not been used?
To maximise the value of the test, the priority is to ensure a spread of different size groups and ages for the first match as we aim to provide a safe matchday experience for all supporters.
What provision will there be for disabled access?
Accessible seating areas will be available as part of the online ballot. Supporters can also contact the Ticket Office for more information.
Can I attend with other households?
Extended households will be considered on a case by case basis but must meet government criteria. (Single grandparent as part of a child’s household bubble, or partners who co-habit separately for example.)
Can I use my season ticket seat?
No. Due to the social distanced seating plan that will be in place for the test events, seats will be allocated to you and your group by the Ticket Office for the initial test events.
How will I gain access?
For the initial test events, paper tickets for the seats which you have been allocated will be mailed out to you in advance of the match. There will be no collections on matchday.
Will I have to use my season ticket card?
No, season ticket cards will not be used as part of the test event operational plan. Paper tickets for the seats which you have been allocated will be mailed out to you in advance of the match. There will be no collections on matchday.
Is access transferable?
No, photo ID will be required for all supporters to access the stadium on matchday. This is to ensure that we can comply with government regulations and assist with test and protect if required.
Why have the club not offered places to those who supported the #StillStandingFree campaign and NHS staff/key workers?
Our commitment remains to recognise everyone who played a key part in getting our region to the stage we are at now; this will take place over the course of the season and we really can’t wait to celebrate their contribution to keeping us all safe. For now, the focus has to be on prioritising season ticket holders to reward their loyalty and to properly test the process properly.
What if I cannot attend the match?
If you are successful in the ballot but your circumstances change and can no longer attend, please let the ticket office know at the earliest opportunity.
We will then release your seat(s) to another season ticket holder and ensure that you are eligible to enter future ballots for test events.
Will I still have access to the virtual season ticket?
Virtual season ticket access will remain available free of charge for all supporters who are unsuccessful in the ballot. Those who are successful in the ballot will have their access to the virtual element removed for that game. This is to ensure that we comply with the rules set out as part of the agreement with the SPFL and our broadcaster Sky Sports.
If I am selected in the ballot for this match can I apply for future matches?
If you are successful and attend the game, then you won’t be able to apply to attend again until all other season ticket holders have had the opportunity to attend. By having successful test events continuously, we hope to be at this point sooner rather than later but appreciate the patience of supporters as we work towards this goal