Scottish football chiefs have backed Aberdeen’s plans for a new stadium at Kingsford.

The Scottish Football Association (SFA), said the plans will ensure Aberdeen remains in the running for hosting international matches.

And the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL) believes it is vital for a major club like Aberdeen to have its own training academy.

The development, near Westhill, will also include community facilities.

SFA chief executive Stewart Regan 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.”

Mr Regan said Aberdeen faces significant challenges at both domestic and European 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.”

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster also endorsed the proposals.

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.”

Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne warned Aberdeen could struggle to host some European matches if they remain at Pittodrie.

He said: “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.”

The proposals will see £50m invested to create a new home for the Dons with football training pitches and academy that will also provide a base for a major expansion of the Aberdeen FC Community Trust which will focus on social inclusion, healthy lifestyles and boosting participation in sport.

Originally published – 16 January 2018