The owner of a bar at the centre of a police investigation into alleged breaches of coronavirus measures during the Scotland v Serbia match has said staff were “unable to prevent or contain what happened”.
Aberdeen City Council and Police Scotland have launched an investigation after footage posted online showed fans in the Draft Project pop-up bar embracing during celebrations.
The Scotland men’s national team qualified for the delayed Euro 2020 championship after beating Serbia on penalties.
Aberdeen is currently in Level 2 of coronavirus restrictions and rules state no more than two households can mix in pubs.
Stuart Clarkson, owner and founder of PB Devco, which owns the bar, said: “Having seen the videos I am shocked, disappointed and saddened.
“This simply is not acceptable and I understand why people are so upset by this.
“While we are proud of our venues and the safe environment they provide, it is clear that in this case we misjudged what was likely to happen.
“Despite having four additional members of security staff on duty, we were simply unable to contain the outbreak of joy at Scotland’s success.”
He added: “I would also like to thank the four Police Scotland officers who attended the venue for around 40 minutes and supported our management and security staff after the first goal was scored.
“We truly hoped and believed we could provide a safe way for customers to enjoy this crucial match and that we could do that within the existing regulations.
“We took all steps we could to fully comply with those regulations.
“With hindsight it is easy to understand the scenes of sheer, unbridled joy.
“Unfortunately, in the current pandemic, that is not acceptable and we were unable to prevent or contain what happened.”
Mr Clarkson said a review will be carried out to prevent the incident happening again and his company will “comply fully” with any investigations by police, local authority or Scottish Government.
Police said there were no arrests or fixed penalty notices issued in relation to the alleged incident.
Chief Inspector David Howieson said: “We are aware of footage circulating on social media following the Scotland game last night.
“Officers were on patrol within the city centre throughout the evening and in attendance at the premises in question where they supported staff who ejected a number of patrons following a spontaneous reaction to the first Scotland goal.
“Police are working in close consultation with the local authority environmental health and licensing teams to investigate the full circumstances.”
An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman said: “We are investigating the circumstances of last night with Police Scotland.”
Susan Webb, director of Public Health at NHS Grampian, said: “While I cannot comment on these specific circumstances, I can say this – this virus does not rest.
“It does not take a minute off, much less 90 minutes, extra time and penalties.
“Letting our guard down gives it the opportunity to pass from person to person and, as too many families can confirm, it can have deadly consequences.”
SNP Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart tweeted on Thursday that he will be contacting police and the council to call for an investigation.
An Aberdeen City Council spokeswoman said: “There is no legal mechanism for the Licensing Board to revoke an occasional licence which lasts a maximum of 14 days. Occasional licences are applied for every fortnight.
“However, officers from Environmental Health and Trading Standards at Aberdeen City Council have served a notice of direction on The Draft Project in Aberdeen. The direction includes a requirement to take action to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 and remove all televisions at The Draft Project.”
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