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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 June 2006, 15:24 GMT 16:24 UK
Dons rescue package eyes new home
Aberdeen's Pittodrie Stadium
Aberdeen's Pittodrie Stadium is viewed as unviable
Aberdeen's two major shareholders have agreed to lend 2m to the club to ease crippling debts as part of a radical plan to move to a new stadium.

An extraordinary meeting has been called for 28 June as the Scottish Premier League club attempt to retain the backing of the Bank of Scotland.

Executive director Duncan Fraser hoped the plan would receive support, saying: "I do believe Aberdeen will relocate.

"But not only in order to service debt. Pittodrie is no longer a viable venue."

The Stewart Milne Group and Aberdeen Asset Management have agreed to lend the 2m and also give 450,000 of additional undertakings to the bank.

This would be used to reduce the existing 9m debt between now and March 2011.

But, to obtain the improved terms from the bank, Aberdeen have agreed to separate their football activities from the ownership of the stadium.
By 2011, it would be nice to be in a new stadium

Aberdeen executive director Duncan Fraser

And the only way to ultimately wipe out the debt is to sell the land Pittodrie sits on, valued at 15m, for development and move into a proposed community-owned stadium, leased from Aberdeen City Council.

"The club is better placed financially than many others in Scottish football due to continuing prudent financial management and some very painful decisions over the last few years," said Fraser.

"We are now running our operations at or near operating break-even but still carrying significant debt, which we must address.

"At the moment, the club is able to cover its operating costs but unable to service the debt.

"The steps we are taking will arrest the accumulation of debt and ensure the long-term survival of the club.

"Ultimately, this new structure is reliant on selling Pittodrie and moving to a new stadium.

"I would think the fans would realise that it is and the feedback we have had so far has been positive.

"By 2011, it would be nice to be in a new stadium and that is the timescale we are looking at.

"The stadium is hemmed in and and we cannot expand it, so we need to find a new home.

"We need to look at an alternative, but we cannot look at a football stadium that is only used 22 times or so a season - that is not an option.

"Our preferred solution is to become the lead tenant of a community stadium.

"The club will continue to work closely with Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and other partners to evaluate potential sites and the feasibility of such a facility.

"The council have given approval to a feasibility study, so we hope it goes ahead."


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