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Aberdeen rugby chief in attack on city’s sports body

Aberdeen Grammar rugby team's Chairman Gordon Thomson.
Aberdeen Grammar rugby team's Chairman Gordon Thomson.

The head of Aberdeen’s premier rugby club has attacked Sport Aberdeen claiming it has “no interest in sport for the community” while he highlighted mounting problems that face the city’s leisure organisations.

Gordon Thomson, Aberdeen Grammar chairman and director of rugby, said yesterday he had serious concerns about the arm’s-length body which was set up by Aberdeen City Council in 2010.

During the last few weeks, news emerged that Aberdeen Grammar Former Pupils club is selling its centre to care home developers for £2.25 million.

Meanwhile, Sport Aberdeen itself is facing an uncertain future.

The Press and Journal has learned that the 10-year contract it has with Aberdeen City Council ends at the start of 2020 and the local authority is to receive a detailed report about its options this autumn.

One source said yesterday: “It is not a done deal (that the contract will be renewed). Several councillors are worried about the management of facilities and charges.”

Mr Thomson is among those who believe the current structure is not properly tackling the concerns of sporting bodies.

He said: “With the sale of the Grammar FP club, the closure of the Seafield Club and the lack of a bespoke multi-sport outdoor facility in the city, something needs to change.

“We are in discussions with cricket and hockey as to where our future lies and, if rugby is to develop in the north-east, we need a modern facility that can be used by multiple groups seven days a week.”

Mr Thomson was scathing about the role of Sport Aberdeen and said it was very difficult to even discuss new proposals with the organisation.

He added: “The city council claims there is no money for sport, yet spends millions on swimming pools and allows them to be boarded up.

“Sport Aberdeen, which was formed to save money on VAT, has no interest in sport for the community.”

His view was firmly denied by the organisation, with Sport Aberdeen claiming it was “committed to creating opportunities, inspiring people and changing lives through the provision of quality sport.”

A spokeswoman said: “Most recently, we have supported the development and launch of ClubSport Aberdeen and we were behind the formation of the Active Aberdeen Partnership.

“Declining numbers in some team sports is a fact of life, and affects the whole of the UK, not just Aberdeen.”

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