No discussions and no plan equals no hope as Dave Cormack warns Scottish football is facing disaster with no supporters in stadiums.
There continues to be radio silence from the Scottish government over the Aberdeen chairman’s pleas to open up negotiations on a plan to get fans back safely.
There may be no word from Holyrood, but Cormack insists Scottish football has a voice – and must use it to safeguard the future of clubs and the community work they do.
The Red Army snapped up 8,000 season tickets for this season to help their club during the pandemic, but also on the assumption they would witness some live games at Pittodrie.
Cormack fears with no route map in place for the supporters return, season tickets for 2021-22 will be a hard sell many fans will reject. That will have disastrous consequences, not just for Aberdeen, but all clubs.
Cormack said: “We’re looking to get together with the Scottish government and get a plan in place.
“Scottish clubs and our footballing authorities must have urgent, constructive and meaningful discussions with government that acknowledge our socio-economic impact, that recognise our plight and deliver a clear plan and road map towards a return of fans.
“We’re looking for help to put a constructive programme in place.
“We don’t want to be reckless.
“No one is saying Tier 4 should have 30,000 at a game.
“But for Tier 1, let’s have a real plan that graduates through.
“We want to be safe.”
Aberdeen held a successful test event in September when 300 fans were inside Pittodrie to witness a 1-0 defeat of Kilmarnock.
A request to have 1,000 fans inside the stadium for October’s 3-3 draw with Celtic was rejected by the Scottish government despite having the backing of Aberdeen City Council.
He said: “We would want to do it on a gradual basis.
“It is one game at a time, but if somebody comes back and says you can have 300 for the next game, what does that prove?
“We have already proven we can get 300 in here.
“If Ross County can get 300 fans into a 6,000-seater stadium, we can easily accommodate 1,000 people.
“What I would like to see in the plan we currently have is give us 1,000 fans for the next home game then 1,500 and let it graduate up from there.
“We could easily accommodate 3,000 fans, but you can only do that on an incremental basis.
“We just want the chance to demonstrate that we are good stewards of this.
“Then, if for some reason people come to Pittodrie and catch Covid-19, then we shut it down. I am extremely confident we can put together a good plan.
“The best practices we have put together have come from the clubs together and the investments clubs like Celtic and ourselves have made in these precautions. They run to hundreds of pages.”
Cormack and his investors have pumped almost £20 million into the club in the last three years, but he believes the club must generate cash from matchday revenue as well.
He said: “Between me and my friends, we have put close to £20 million into the club now and am I ever going to get a return on that beyond getting enjoyment from the club being successful?
“No, it’s a social investment for me. I certainly wouldn’t be budgeting for 8,000 Aberdeen fans to buy a season ticket again if there is no plan. There comes a point where I can’t keep asking friends of mine and investors to throw money in to cover losses.
“The biggest concern is that with no plan, who’s going to buy season tickets in Scotland? How many fans will buy season tickets in Scotland across the board?
“Who knows? How can you budget for 2,000, 3,000, 4,000?
“It’s going to be a challenge, the whole of society is being affected by this. It’s our jobs as people running the clubs in Scottish football to put it out there.
“It’s not a case of sitting and saying ‘poor me, poor me’ – it’s about people’s jobs.
“It’s about being open and transparent about things, I don’t think we do enough of that in Scottish football. Supporters are shareholders as well.”