The two main bodies in professional football in Scotland have thrown their weight behind Aberdeen FC’s plans for a new stadium, football training academy and community facilities at Kingsford.
Stewart Regan, chief executive of the Scottish Football Association has voiced his support for the project with Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the SPFL, echoing his call to back the plans at Kingsford, near Westhill.
Regan said the plans will reaffirm Aberdeen FC’s position as “a beacon for Scotland and the North-east” and ensure that Aberdeen remains in the running for hosting international matches. He said:
With the introduction of the UEFA Nations League replacing international friendlies, last year’s match against Holland could be the last time Pittodrie, and therefore Aberdeen, will host a competitive Scotland international, due to its well-documented constraints. This further underlines the need for a new stadium to become a major national sporting asset and enhance the city’s ability to host internationals and European football.
Regan also highlighted that Aberdeen FC faces significant challenges on both domestic and UEFA levels at its current home. He said:
Pittodrie can only ever achieve the silver level of the Scottish FA’s licensing regime because of its field and dressing room dimensions, spectator areas, the provision for disabled fans and the media facilities. We are keen to see clubs across the country invest and develop their own facilities and, in Aberdeen’s case, the new stadium will ensure that they can continue to be able to host top European fixtures locally in front of their own fans.
With UEFA regulations even more stringent, Aberdeen FC will struggle to host some European matches. Stewart Milne, chairman of Aberdeen FC, added:
The thought of having to play these games in the central belt is one which is rightly unthinkable for our fans. There would be a significant loss of revenue to the club and the city of Aberdeen and it goes without saying that neither would want to send out this message to the rest of the footballing world.
Doncaster believes it’s vital for a major club like Aberdeen to have its own “on-campus” facilities. He said:
It’s difficult to overstate the positive impact this development will have on the region’s sporting performance. Aberdeen is the dominant footballing force in the North East and its role in developing the next generation of talented Scottish footballers makes these elite training facilities essential.
The proposed development would really complement the existing sporting facilities in Aberdeen and further strengthen the city’s position as a Scottish sporting powerhouse. Of course, the new 3G pitches and multi-purpose areas available for community use would enable greater numbers of people to participate in football and the new facilities for the AFC Community Trust would greatly extend the good works of a charity which already supports a wide range of communities in the region.
The proposals will see £50 million invested to create a new home for the Dons with football training pitches and academy that will also provide a base for the significant expansion of the award-winning work of the Aberdeen FC Community Trust on social inclusion, participation in sport and healthy lifestyles for all ages across the region.
A new pre-determination hearing into Aberdeen FC’s proposals for the new stadium is due to be held by Aberdeen City Council on 29 January.