The Scottish Football Association (SFA) has backed plans for a new beachfront stadium in Aberdeen, with the venue touted as a possible host venue for future international matches.
The SFA believes the project will have a “transformative” impact on the region’s sporting profile and ensure that Aberdeen is considered as a regular host of international fixtures.
Premiership club Aberdeen said the new stadium could host women’s internationals, as well as men’s U21 games and other youth international fixtures.
Aberdeen’s current stadium, Pittodrie, has only hosted 10 internationals in over 50 years, most recently in 2017 when Scotland’s men’s team lost 1-0 in a friendly against the Netherlands.
The club said that a new stadium that meets UEFA and FIFA standards could provide an alternative option for Scotland’s women’s U17 and U19 teams. Aberdeen cited the growing popularity of women’s football as an opportunity to inspire a new generation of supporters locally.
Ian Maxwell, SFA chief executive, said: “Keeping Aberdeen FC in the city with a new stadium, close to its spiritual home of Pittodrie, would benefit not only the club but the city as a whole.
“A modern stadium which includes facilities that meet strict criteria set by UEFA would ensure the North-East is a viable option to host future international matches involving Scotland national teams of all levels. The plans are also in keeping with the Scottish FA strategy, the Power of Football, in particular building a united and successful future for our national game.”
The SFA has backed the proposals after Aberdeen last week released an economic impact report for the project.
The report, jointly commissioned by the club and Aberdeen City Council, was conducted by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce and MKA Economics. It outlined that a new stadium at Aberdeen beach is projected to inject at least £1bn (€1.15bn/$1.14bn) into the local economy over the next 50 years and generate footfall of 38 million.
The report estimates that the stadium and community facilities would generate an additional £20m into the local economy every year. It states a new stadium and community leisure complex would directly support 260 sustainable jobs, providing £6m per annum in salaries, and an additional £14.3m of gross value added (GVA) every year.
Dave Cormack, Aberdeen chairman, added: “It’s clear that the combined offering of our excellent training facilities at Cormack Park with a stunning new beachfront stadium would be appealing for our national teams, both men’s and women’s, at all levels.
“It would help promote diversity and inclusion in Aberdeen and further boost the already substantial £1bn projected economic uplift from the new stadium, which was identified by the recent Chamber of Commerce economic impact report.
“Being in the running to host international fixtures on a more regular basis, instead of just one every five years or so, could generate a significant and welcome boost to the local economy, attracting visitors to Aberdeen, increasing footfall and spend in the city centre and enhancing our international profile.”
In April, Aberdeen revealed that its plans for a new beachfront stadium had received “overwhelming” support from fans. The new stadium is intended to form part of a £100m regeneration of Aberdeen’s beachfront. A proposal from Liberal Democrat councillor Ian Yuill to remove the stadium from the regeneration was rejected in March.
Aberdeen had previously agreed a deal to build a new stadium on the outskirts of the city but in August 2021 the club released a statement saying that it was supporting the council’s new beachfront vision.