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Professional rugby team set for Aberdeen?

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A major sports sponsor says it would like to back the creation of a third Pro12 rugby team for Scotland - based in its home town of Aberdeen.


Aberdeen Asset Management already sponsors major events like sailing's Cowes Week and the Scottish Open golf.


"I'd love to see a rugby team there of the calibre of Edinburgh or Glasgow, a professional team," chief executive Martin Gilbert told BBC Scotland. "Because I think, in rugby, Scotland still needs more professional teams."


The Scottish Rugby Union disbanded the Border Reivers in 2007 in order to concentrate funds on Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors.


Gilbert, whose company has sponsored Edinburgh in the past, thinks the north-east would also give its backing to a Pro12 rugby team.


"I think it would be supported up there because you'd get everywhere north of Dundee supportive of that sort of strategy," he said.


"It would be great and we would love to be involved in something like that.


"I think we do need to do something pretty radical.


"We've sponsored Edinburgh and we'd love to have a professional set-up in the north east."


Gilbert's company was Edinburgh's sponsor from 2008 until 2013, when it was outbid by BT Sport.


As well as sailing and golf events, Aberdeen Asset Management, an international investment management group with offices around the world, sponsors racing driver Paul Di Resta, Scottish Hockey, golfers Paul Lawrie and Catriona Matthew, plus ski schools.


Gilbert admits he has not been party to any discussions with the SRU about establishing a professional rugby team in Aberdeen.


However, the chief executive fears that the governing body might instead drop one of the two present professional teams because of tightening finances.


"My worry is they'll go the other way and cut even more," he said.


A Scottish Rugby spokesman suggested it would like to create a third team - but only if there was sufficient funding.


"We welcome any dialogue with any individual/s that would enable us to expand our investment in professional teams," he said in a statement.


"Clearly, at present, there would be a number of hurdles that we would have to surmount, including financial and other considerations, to increase from our existing two professional teams."


Since Aberdeen Asset Management hold a lot of our debt and the rugby would need infrastructure - you would imagine if Gilbert goes ahead with the plan it would link up somehow with a new stadium with AFC. You would also imagine Ian Wood would be in on this as a rugby fan (or so the rumour say).



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