Aberdeen say a “small number” of tickets sold for next month’s Viaplay Cup final with Rangers have been “deactivated and refunded” after Dons fans raised concerns they could have been bought by rival supporters.
The Reds began selling their share of tickets for the Hampden showpiece on Tuesday, and impressively sold out an initial batch of 17,000 briefs – from a total allocation of 19,500 tickets – within hours.
However, many Aberdeen season ticket holders and AberDNA subscribers were left unhappy, as the Dons’ decision to quickly move tickets on to general sale meant some of club’s most-committed fans were unable to secure briefs for their team’s first cup final in five years.
It is understood the number of refunds issued by the club was around 200.
Reds chief executive Alan Burrows was quick to say sorry for how the ticket sales for the final had been handled on Tuesday evening.
A further club statement issued on Friday clarifying the situation included another apology for any “unneeded anxiety” created for supporters over whether they will be able to attend the December 17 national stadium clash.
Adding to fans’ concerns were claims from fans of Rangers – allocated 25,000 of their own tickets for the game – on social media that Aberdeen’s loose sales protocols had allowed them to purchase tickets in Dons sections.
The Pittodrie ticket office was closed on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday so staff could not only collate a waiting list of disgruntled Reds supporters, but also ensure no Gers fans will be in the Reds’ end of Hampden for the final.
In Friday afternoon’s statement, Aberdeen confirmed a “small number” of ticket sales which did not meet the club’s “normal purchasing criteria, which includes a significant buying history” had been cancelled.
The statement added, in reselling those tickets, plus the remaining secondary batch 2,500 briefs for the final, priority will be given to Dons supporters according to how many loyalty points they have accrued.
The Aberdeen statement on Friday read: “Following our communication on Wednesday morning, we wish to further alleviate any concerns Dons fans may have about the ticketing process for the Viaplay Cup Final.
“Firstly, we apologise for any undue frustration or panic the general sale period may have caused. We understand this is a hugely important match for all our supporters who are keen to see their team play in a national cup final for the first time in five years.
“When determining arrangements for this match our experienced ticketing staff planned the process with the intention of trying to allow larger groups and families to sit together at the cup final.
“With hindsight, we should have created additional tiers to the sales process before going on general sale, and not doing so, has caused unneeded anxiety for our loyal fans. We are very sorry for this error.
‘We have stringently checked all purchases’
“We have standard protocols in place for high-demand fixtures to prevent non-Aberdeen fans from purchasing in the designated Aberdeen fans’ sections. However, due to an unfortunate human error in our ticket office, an element of these protocols was missed on this occasion.
“As soon as we became aware of the issue, we worked quickly to rectify the problem with the ticketing team investigating all transactions purchased after 5pm on Tuesday.
“We have stringently checked all purchases made during this window to ensure they are compliant with our normal purchasing criteria, which includes a significant buying history.
“The small number of the ticket purchases which did not meet these standard protocols are being deactivated and refunded with immediate effect.
“Over and above that, we have been in dialogue with the SPFL and await the final number of additional tickets we get which will take us up to approximately 19,500 in total.
“When we receive these, the ticket office team will work to ensure all those who have registered for the waiting list, and meet the criteria, are given priority (based on priority points) to purchase both the small amount that will be relisted, and the approximate 2,500 South Stand Upper tickets to be provided.
“Once again, we sincerely apologise to our fantastic supporters who have backed the team in huge numbers this season.
“We are confident we have resolved any potential issues and look forward to seeing a colourful and noisy Red Army at Hampden.”