Following the First Minister’s announcement on Tuesday afternoon that Scottish football would effectively be supporter free from Boxing Day, the DAFC Board would like to provide our supporters with an update.
The health of everyone in our local community, and the wider country is without question the most important thing that we must consider. The spread of Omicron needs to be slowed to protect the NHS.
However, being given only two full business days notice that we would again be subject to such onerous restrictions is incredibly frustrating. We were fortunate this year to have two upcoming homes games during the holiday period, with hospitality being sold out for both matches.
The last couple of days have been very challenging, trying to come up with a balanced and fair solution to the hand that we were dealt on Tuesday afternoon.
A restricted crowd of 500, which is also subject to a 1 metre social distance, is actually worse than a closed door event, as we will still carry a large number of our costs with no revenue in return. We will already lose thousands of pounds from pre orders we had to make for hospitality. It also creates potential division between supporters all of whom are understandably desperate to attend East End Park. Organising an opt in ballot at such short notice, during a national holiday is hugely complex.
For all of the above reasons, we have had to make the very difficult decision to play our upcoming matches against Arbroath on 26th December, and Inverness on 29th December behind closed doors.
Our preference had been to explore other options with our fellow clubs, such as a 3 week break, to give us the opportunity to get more people boosted with their third vaccination and potentially ensure more supporters would be able to attend the rescheduled fixtures. However, the consensus view at a meeting of the Championship clubs today was to continue to play matches.
We hope that our loyal supporters will understand and appreciate the difficulties that we faced in coming to this decision. All season ticket holders will of course be entitled to a free stream of both matches via Pars TV.
It is yet another blow to our national game, and our own supporters who have had such a tough time of it over the last couple of years. This season has already been a very frustrating one for our supporters, for all sorts of reasons, including a match cancellation and two games being abandoned.
As a business, we suffer from all of the restrictions placed upon both the hospitality and sports sector. We sincerely hope that football clubs who are the heartbeat of their local community, as DAFC demonstrated in the early days of the vaccines being rolled out, will be able to obtain commensurate support from the Scottish Government.
In the meantime, we wish all of our supporters and their families a peaceful and safe Christmas and hope we are all reunited back at East End Park very, very soon.
Thank you yet again for your continued support in these challenging times.