A night where Scottish football fans rejoiced, celebrating their side’s inclusion in the Euros for the first time in 22 years, has sparked anger and recrimination after videos emerged showing them hugging and cheering.
While showing sporting events on television in hospitality venues is permitted, current restrictions prevent singing or raising your voice, and business owners must ensure at least a one-metre distance between people unless they are from the same household.
In light of the guidelines and Scotland’s momentous result – we ask, was showing the game the right thing to do?
Unable to contain the outbreak of joy
In a statement released tonight, owner and founder of PB Devco Stuart Clarkson said he was “shocked, disappointed and saddened” at the videos.
He said: “This simply is not acceptable and I understand why people are so upset by this.
“While we are proud of our venues and the safe environment they provide, it is clear that in this case we misjudged what was likely to happen. Despite having four additional members of security staff on duty, we were simply unable to contain the outbreak of joy at Scotland’s success.
“We truly hoped and believed we could provide a safe way for customers to enjoy this crucial match and that we could do that within the existing regulations. We took all steps we could to fully comply with those regulations.
“With hindsight it is easy to understand the scenes of sheer, unbridled joy. Unfortunately in the current pandemic, that is not acceptable and we were unable to prevent or contain what happened.”
Mr Clarkson vowed to carry out a thorough of what went wrong to prevent a repeat of such incidents, and said they would comply fully with any review carried out by police, Aberdeen City Council or the Scottish Government.
Cannot blame the fans for their reaction
Some readers said fans could not be blamed for their reaction in what was a monumental night for Scotland.
Richard Merchant commented: “You will never stop human nature, 22 years for football fans, do you want them to sit on their hands??
“You cannot control passion for your county, it was a penalty shoot-out.”
Jamie Cooper added: “Whose fault is it really?
“The people/fans who have waited a long 22 years for a moment like this or the pubs for showing it in a public place?
“How can you expect people to control feelings like that last night that has been stewing for 22 years?”
Nicola Robertson echoed these points:
“They weren’t exactly going to sit and politely clap when we scored/qualified.”
Is it the government’s fault instead?
Reader William Bloomer asked whether it was actually the government’s fault and not the pubs for not closing premises down for the night.
He said: “In all honesty biggest game in our countries history for 22 years if the government was that switched on and bothered why didn’t they close the bars before the game for a one-off to try and prevent it no they didn’t so why are people quick to have a go at bars.
“No way were you keeping people apart after qualifying.”
Soul Bar not the only culprits
Keith Edment did not agree with an investigation being launched into the events of the night.
He said: “Yes the rules were broken and I get why people are mad but I still don’t agree with the investigation because it will not be the only bar that has had this happen last night in the interest of fairness if you investigate them you need to investigate them all and people also need to think how much this game meant for so many Scots mentality and emotionally 23 year it took us to do this. ”
They appear to have broken every current licensing rule
Willie Meston from the Coilacriech Inn in Ballater expressed his disgust in the lack of social distancing last night and now calls for the licensing board to take action.
In an e-mail, written to the Press and Journal, he said: “I find the behaviour of the licensee and operators of the Draught Project, Aberdeen disgraceful.
“They appear to have broken every current licensing rule on Thursday night. Because of this all public house operators in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire will have to suffer greater restrictions.
“Surely it is time that the Aberdeen licensing board took action.”
Reader Christine Graham agreed that the bar should be punished.
She said: “Close them down with a huge fine, isolate the punishment to those premises and not the surrounding businesses who are all desperately working hard to follow the regulations.”
Pauline Gerrard added: “The Law at present says close at 10pm.
“The law was broken. A massive penalty for themselves and the city.”
And Finlay Jolliffe said: “Revoke the License simple as.
“It cannot be run properly it shouldn’t be running at all.”
Don’t worry about the rest of us
Paddy Mc, general manager of the Holburn Bar, sarcastically tagged Soul Bar in a Facebook post exclaiming: “Don’t worry about the rest of us in hospitality.
“Thousands will suffer from your actions.”
Soul Bar Aberdeen don’t worry about the rest of us in hospitality. 1000’s will suffer from your actions.
Posted by Paddy Mc on Thursday, November 12, 2020
Not good enough
Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart blasted the Aberdeen bar on Twitter last night, claiming their actions where “not good enough” and that he would be “contacting the police.”
Today 58 people in Grampian tested positive for Covid19. Tonight, I am receiving messages with video footage from an Aberdeen bar featuring clear breaches of regulations. This is not good enough & I will be contacting the police & the council tomorrow & they must investigate.
— Kevin Stewart MSP (@KevinStewartSNP) November 12, 2020
A statement this morning read: “The scenes in that particular venue last night were a disgrace and have put people in our city at risk – how many bars and jobs are being put on the line because of the arrogance and apparent flagrant disregard of the rules in one venue?
“The council must investigate this matter fully and I don’t mean giving the owners a ring and chatting it over. I mean a formal review which includes opening the log books and looking at the test and protect records, measuring the venue properly and not taking the venue’s word for it and most importantly taking action on the chaos that happened last night.”
Reader Mathew King also believes that the owners of the Draft Project did not do enough to calm the crowds.
He said: “Tried their best, what would someone else have done.
“Closed the place. After all the customers breaking the rules the first time, turn the TVs off.
“Once the celebrating started, close the place. Too concerned with lining the tills.”
Nothing short of disgraceful
The Scottish Hospitality Group condemned the actions by the pub goers in Draft Project last night.
The scenes coming from #draftproject tonight in Aberdeen are nothing short of disgraceful. The SHG condemn fully the behaviour of the operator & customers. There is a duty to protect public health and we would support any action taken by authorities after any investigation. #SHG https://t.co/cafA4HlBiW
— Scottish Hospitality Group #Hospitality (@ScottishGroup) November 12, 2020
Selfish, irresponsible actions
Aberdeen councillor Martin Greig last night has lodged a complaint with the council on behalf of a constituent and called for an investigation.
He said: “Very many more people are going to be infected by the Covid-19 virus as a result of this kind of misconduct.
“The selfish, irresponsible actions are core reason why the infection is increasing.
“The failure to manage customer behaviour within a licensed premise needs to be explained and accounted for.”
He added that authorities must “consider the appropriate response towards Soul”.
Reader Amanda Mackay also called the actions “irresponsible.”
She said: “That’s why it was on TV – should never have been allowed in pubs , this was obviously going to happen !
“Enjoyed it at home celebrating with my family.
“Covid doesn’t care if we’ve not qualified in 22 years and we’re never going to beat it with this kind of stupid irresponsible behaviour.
“The owners of this pub should know better after being instrumental in the Aberdeen local lockdown in August.”
I am angry
Council co-leader Douglas Lumsden called for action against the individuals shown in the videos, saying: “I am angry and disappointed by the scenes of fans celebrating during the match last night.
“Many people have worked hard to allow businesses to open in a safe way to allow physical distancing and that work gets completely undermined by a few people who spoil it for everyone else.
“I would hope that the contact details for these people in the bar last night are now passed on to the police for them to take action.”