Frustrated Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack has hit out at the Scottish Government for blanking football’s bid to try and get fans back through the gates.
Cormack took to Twitter on Friday night to challenge the Government’s National Clinical Director Jason Leitch and Sports Minister Joe FitzPatrick for claiming the “channels of communication are open” on national radio.
The Joint Response Group wrote to the Government earlier this week to ask for talks after the Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave the go-ahead to a supporters’ return in England.
Cormack tweeted: “@jason on Off the Ball: 'Channels of communication are open. The Sports Minister & I meet with whoever wants to talk to us.' Really!
"@ScottishFA, @spfl and @AberdeenFC await an email reply from Monday. Maybe Tam (Cowan) & Stuart (Cosgrove) can ask the following questions tomorrow?”
Cormack went on to challenge Leitch over double-standard.
He wrote: "During a Zoom meeting with @spfl & executives from premiership clubs to discuss COVID did you state that fans socially distanced in stadiums, outdoors in the fresh air, were preferred to indoor events/activities. YES or NO?
"With zero reported covid cases from football test events, and the independent opinion of an eminent epidemiologist, why is Tier 2 access to indoor shopping centres, gyms, trampolining, bingo halls & cinemas now preferred over outdoor stadia by you?"
Aberdeen want to give 5,000 fans some well-needed festive cheer by getting them back into PIttodrie.
The Dons have revealed that they have applied to get 1,000 fans for their Premiership clash with Ross County on December 12th and if that is successful then they want to have to double that for the match with St Johnstone on Boxing Day and the same for the New Year fixture with Dundee United.
AFC commercial director Rob Wicks said: “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.”
Teams in Tier 1 in Scotland are the only sides to be allowed supporters just now but the likes of Ross County, Inverness Caley Thistle and Elgin City are limited to 300, at the most.
Dons chairman Dave Cormack has been one of the main driving forces to get a plan in place to get supporters back. Aberdeen held a trial back in September against Kilmarnock but since then have been left frustrated while the likes of bing halls and cinemas remain open. Aberdeen’s plans have been endorsed by Professor Gary Macfarlane is Chair in Epidemiology at the University of Aberdeen.
Meanwhile, Ross County want the chance to ramp up their supporters return to more than 300 for their clash with Rangers next weekend.
A County statement confirmed: ‘There is no doubting the joy that we have all experienced in having supporters back in the ground on matchday.
‘It lifts the mood and creates such a buzz around the Global Energy Stadium on a matchday.
‘With that in mind, we believe we have showcased on three occasions how well we can manage and deliver a safe environment for our supporters.
‘As we now head for our fourth match with 300 fans we would like to place our support with the SFA/SPFL Joint Response Group in writing to the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, on how we can continue to deliver a pathway back for supporters to stadiums and incrementally increasing numbers, whilst maintaining a safe and secure environment and continuing to fight against the COVID-19 virus.
‘We would like to place our thanks to the Scottish Government for the faith shown in us as one of the first test venues for the return of supporters in September and for allowing us as a Tier 1 area to have supporters back in the Global Energy Stadium.’
Highland rivals Inverness Caley Thistle also allowed limited fans into a recent game with Rather Rovers, while Elgin City will host around 220 supporters at today’s game with Cowdenbeath.