Aberdeen may not get internationals without new stadium - SFA

Malky Mackay and Stewart Regan
SFA chief executive Stewart Regan (right) at Pittodrie in November before Scotland's friendly with Netherlands

Aberdeen risks losing out on international football if plans to build a new stadium at Kingsford are blocked, warns the Scottish FA.

Aberdeenshire Council renewed its objection to the Dons' £50m stadium and training facilities proposal last week.

A special council meeting is scheduled to rule on the plans on 29 January.

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan said the development would ensure that the city remains in the running for hosting Scotland matches.

"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 Scotland international, due to its well-documented constraints," he said.

"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."

The SFA and Scottish Professional Football League had previously supported the club's stadium move and Regan also stressed that the club's current Pittodrie home falls short of meeting top level domestic and European criteria.

Stewart Milne
Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne hopes to have the new stadium up and running by season 2021-22

"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," he explained.

"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."

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster added: "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."

Look elsewhere

Should the Dons remain at Pittodrie and be unable to host Uefa matches, Aberdeen could play such games in Glasgow or Edinburgh, while Dundee's proposed new ground may also be an option if it goes ahead.

Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne explained the club had twice attempted to move stadium over the past 18 years.

"Hopefully, it is third time lucky," he said. "We believe we've put forward a very, very strong case for Kingsford."

The plans for the Kingsford stadium project will be debated at Aberdeen City Council on Wednesday, when members of the public will get to have their say at a pre-determination hearing.

Objectors want Aberdeen FC to look elsewhere, with potential traffic issues one of the main concerns.

Diane Reid, from opposition group No Kingsford stadium, said the issue of playing some matches in Dundee was irrelevant at the moment.

She told BBC Scotland: "I don't think that's a very valid point to be making."

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