Aberdeen chairman Dave Cormack appealed directly to Nicola Sturgeon to allow fans into Boxing Day matches after the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) partially brought forward the winter break.
With 10 of the 12 cinch Premiership clubs in favour of postponing festive fixtures in light of crowd restrictions, the SPFL board agreed to reschedule matches on the December 29 and New Year fixture cards, but not Boxing Day games.
The Scottish Government allowed crowds at three Premiership matches on Wednesday despite on Tuesday announcing maximum 500-strong attendances for live outdoor events from Boxing Day for a period of up to three weeks, in a bid to slow down the latest Covid-19 wave.
Cormack messaged the First Minister on Twitter to ask for a further reprieve.
@NicolaSturgeon On behalf of Scottish football fans, including those home for Xmas who plan ahead to attend games with their families, we at Aberdeen FC respectfully ask the FM to consider delaying the 500 fan limit on Boxing Day until midnight on 26th. Thank you in advance.
— Dave Cormack (@CormackDavie) December 22, 2021
The Dons chairman, whose team host Dundee on Sunday, wrote: “On behalf of Scottish football fans, including those home for Xmas who plan ahead to attend games with their families, we at Aberdeen FC respectfully ask the FM to consider delaying the 500 fan limit on Boxing Day until midnight on 26th. Thank you in advance.”
The appeal is unlikely to succeed given the SPFL board could have postponed the Boxing Day games, but the directors chose not to over concerns around fitting fixtures in.
Matches from December 29 and January 2-3 have been put back to January 17-18 and February 1-2, respectively.
SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said: “We have advised our clubs that any postponements increase the risk of further disruption to an already highly congested fixture calendar.”
The SPFL has today announced that the 29th December and 2nd/3rd January cinch Premiership fixture rounds have been postponed to 17th/18th January and 1st/2nd February.
cinch Championship, League 1 and League 2 clubs have elected not to postpone fixtures.
Full details 👇
— SPFL (@spfl) December 22, 2021
Celtic were the first club to make public their request for an accelerated winter break, and they were joined by Motherwell, Hibernian, Livingston, St Johnstone, Hearts, Dundee United, Dundee and Aberdeen. Covid-hit St Mirren had previously asked for their games against Celtic and Rangers this week to be postponed.
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou, speaking after his team’s goalless draw in Paisley, said: “I am very supportive of our club’s stance. It makes sense to me to use the natural break.
“I have said all along that fans are an integral part of this game. If having that break gives us a chance, without guarantees, to get them back in rather than playing behind closed doors it’s much better.
“I don’t like playing behind closed doors.”