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Aberdeen hope for clarification within 24 hours on bid to have 8,200 fans at Euro clash

Aberdeen supporters rock Pittodrie in the Scottish Cup prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
Aberdeen supporters rock Pittodrie in the Scottish Cup prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

Aberdeen hope to receive clarification within the next 24 hours on their application to have 8,200 supporters inside Pittodrie for the Euro tie with BK Hacken next Thursday.

The Dons submitted an application to the local authority to have 8,200 fans at the Uefa Europa Conference League tie and also the  Premiership opener with Dundee United on August 1.

Club officials are confident Pittodrie can safely accommodate 8,200 fans for those matches having worked tirelessly behind the scenes.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed on Tuesday that Scotland is to move to level zero with Covid restrictions lifted as planned on  Monday 19 July, just three days before the second qualifying round first leg tie with Swedish side BK Hacken.

Aberdeen fans display flags before a league clash with Hearts in August 2019.

That confirmation from the First Minister to the Scottish Parliament gave the green light for the return to Pittodrie next week of a minimum 2,000 strong Red Army.

From Monday, seated outdoor stadiums can host 2,000 fans, and standing venues can accommodate 1,000.

Applications on a case-by-case basis

Applications can be made on a case-by-case basis to increase that crowd number as  was done for the Euro 2020 ties held at Hampden with 12,000 fans attending games.

Aberdeen are confident they can safely accommodate more than four times that 2,000 figure.

Pittodrie rocking for the Europa League tie against Premier League Burnley in July 2018.

Aberdeen have been in dialogue with local authorities and the club insist their application was diligent and thorough enough to put forward a compelling case that  Pittodrie would be a safe environment for 8,200 fans in the first two home games of the campaign.

The last game with unrestricted supporters at Pittodrie was a 3-1 defeat of Hibs on March 7 2020, in front of a crowd of 14,388 fans.

The coronavirus virus shut down Scottish football the following week and supporters have been locked out of Pittodrie for 16 months.

Only 300 inside Pittodrie in 16 months

During that time a fortunate 300 were allowed access for a test game against Kilmarnock at Pittodrie in September last year.

Although the test match was deemed a success there were no more supporters inside Pittodrie in the 2020-21 campaign as Covid cases rose throughout Scotland.

The lucky 300 – the only Dons fans inside Pittodrie last season in the test event against Kilmarnock.

The Scottish League Cup group ties at the weekend were played to limited numbers of supporters  in a welcome return to some semblance of normality.

The last time an unrestricted crowd was allowed into a Scottish football ground was on March 12 last year when Rangers lost  3-1 to Bayer Leverkusen in front o 47,494 fans.

The following day Scottish football was suspended at all levels due to the pandemic.

Hope for full stadia from August 10

Clubs were recently informed by the Joint Response Group if Scotland progresses beyond level 0 on 9 August, it is hoped all limits football matches will be lifted, paving the way for a return to full stadia.

National clinical director Jason Leitch has said full crowds could return to Scottish football grounds from August 10.

That is far from set in stone and Holyrood are set to deliver more clarity on that on August 3.

However the First Minister reiterated she hopes to remove social distancing and all other Covid measures by August 9 – which would pave the way for unrestricted access to Scottish football stadiums.

 

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