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Euro 2024: ‘It will be an absolute travesty if the north-east doesn’t have its own fan zone’

While Aberdeen City Council says it "does not currently have plans" for one, a local business said it is "dead keen" to go ahead with a space for Scotland fans.

Scotland fans at Glasgow Euro 2020 fan zone.
Scotland fans at Euro 2020 fan zone in Glasgow for the match against the Czech Republic. Image: Ian Rutherford/PA Wire.

A Scotland supporters’ group has said that it will be an “absolute travesty” if an official north-east fan zone is not set up for Euro 2024.

Scotland kick-off their European Championships campaign against hosts Germany in Munich on June 14.

But despite other cities like Dundee and Inverness pressing ahead with plans for official fan zones, nothing has been announced for the north-east.

Aberdeen City Council have said they “do not currently have plans” for one, whilst Aberdeenshire Council said they have not “not received any applications to host” any.

22A Events have applied to host three gala fan park events at Dundee’s waterfront for Scotland’s group matches, which also includes games against Switzerland on June 19 and four days later against Hungary.

However, the firm will not be setting one up in Aberdeen, as they confirmed that they “don’t have the resources to host events in other cities at the moment”.

Falcon Square, Inverness.
Falcon Square in Inverness could host a Euro 2024 fan zone. Image: Sandy McCook/DC Thomson.

Inverness is also expected to have its own, with talks in place for one in the city’s Falcon Square, with Eastgate Shopping Centre and Inverness BID working together on this, while there will also be one at Inverness Ice Centre.

Meanwhile the Granite City’s own business improvement district has ruled out being involved in setting one up, with an Aberdeen Inspired spokesman saying: “A fan zone is not something the BID is looking at.”

Our Union Street – whose aim is to bring businesses and people to the Granite Mile – will also not be getting behind the idea.

Although admitting that it “sounds like a great idea”, chairman Bob Keiller said that they “don’t have the resources” to get involved.

The Press and Journal also contacted the Scottish Football Association, with a spokesman for the governing body saying: “The Scottish FA is not involved in organising any fan zone events in Scotland during UEFA Euro 2024.

“Local councils and businesses are free to do so and I believe plans may be in place in some cities for such events.”

Bob Keiller standing up.
Our Union Street chairman Bob Keiller said a fan zone “sounds like a great idea”. Image: Scott Baxter/DC Thomson.

Local businesses considering potential for Euro fan zone

With it looking like it will fall to businesses to consider setting up a fan zone somewhere in the north-east, we started contacting key locations to get their thoughts.

P&J Live, whose main arena can hold up to 15,000 people, said it has been considering the “potential”.

The venue’s managing director Rob Wicks said: “We have indeed been looking at the potential for and commercial viability of a fan zone for Euro 2024.

P&J Live.
Could P&J Live host a fan zone? Image: Darrell Benns/DC Thomson.

“The opportunity to host in part also depends on our current diary commitments for other entertainment events, conferences and banqueting, which understandably need to take precedence.”

At the time of writing, the venue has no events scheduled on the dates of Scotland’s three group games.

Barry Clarkson of PB Devco, which owns Soul and nine other venues in Aberdeen, said getting involved in setting up a Scotland fan zone would “certainly be something we would be interested in”.

While Resident X, which is based at Marischal Square, confirmed they are “working up” a plan and have been “speaking to people in the background”.

Ryan Clark.
Resident X co-owner Ryan Clark has plans for a Euro 2024 fan zone at the venue. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson.

One of the venue’s owners Ryan Clark said they are “dead keen” to do something, adding: “We’re definitely looking for partners and we’ve been speaking to sponsors as well.

“With Scotland finally managing to be in consecutive championships, it’s definitely something we’re looking at doing.”

Fan zones: ‘A huge opportunity’

Peterhead-based Scotland supporters’ club North East Tartan Army has urged council bosses to ensure there is an official fan zone in the region for fans that cannot make it to Germany.

A spokesman said: “I think given the large percentage of Tartan Army supporters in the north-east of Scotland, it would be an absolute travesty for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire councils not to put on a fan zone here.

“I think there’s a huge opportunity for local people to come and enjoy this summer watching Scotland while possibly supporting local food and drink businesses in a designated area, and in doing so could inspire the next generation of Scotland fans.

Scotland fans at Glasgow Euro 2020 fan zone.
Scotland celebrating at the Euro 2020 fan zone in Glasgow. Image: Wullie Marr/DC Thomson.

“We’re lucky to have an abundance of areas that could be used to host the zones like Hazlehead or Duthie parks. There would be absolutely no excuse for the councils not to deliver this to the residents of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, and I really hope they listen to the public and put something that can benefit the area in many ways.”

A spokesman Granite City Scots – an Aberdeen-based Scotland supporters’ club – added: “I think it would be decent if they could organise something. Although, I’m not sure if all the pubs in town would be happy with potential trade being taken away.”