The Welsh Rugby Union have told a supporter who complained about drinkers ruining a Wales game it’s not their responsibility, although they are considering changes.
A Wales fan paid £260 to take his family of four to watch the Six Nations match against Italy at the Principality Stadium.
He then sent an email to the Union after a pint of beer was spilt over his wife and their experience was constantly disturbed by beer dripped from rested pints on the canopy above them, as well as those carrying and fetching drinks from the bars.
The incidents follow hundreds of Tweets echoing similar experiences following an article on Dai Sport calling for football-style rules that only allow drinking in the bar areas.
— Johnny Millroad (@JonnyMillRoad) March 15, 2018
The WRU sent the supporter what appears to be a standard response. It contains no apology for what happened or any reference to his specific complaints.
Instead, the response admits the behaviour of some fans is “loutish” but claims it cannot accept any responsibility for it.
The WRU also makes these claims:
* that their stewards are trained to “react and intervene” as required.
* There is a four-drink limit for all fans (although there are no details about how this is enforced).
* Fans who look under the age of 25 are asked for ID under the Challenge 25 scheme.
* A number of fans were ejected from the stadium and also refused drinks during the Italy game.
However, in the face of growing demands from fans for changes to be made to their policies, the reply states: “the . . . policy is again under review in full to consider a number of different factors and any amendments to the current policy will be communicated via the appropriate channels.”
After the huge response to our article, Dai Sport ran a Twitter poll asking fans whether they would support a booze ban in the seats at the stadium, along the lines adopted under legislation by football clubs.
The poll included the hashtag #LoseTheBooze.
An overwhelming majority – 76 per cent – voted in favour of restricting drinking to the bar areas.
One fan has told Dai Sport his view was obstructed 105 times within a five-minute period.
The Dai Sport campaign to restrict drinking, and the constant to-ing and fro-ing of drinkers, was discussed on BBC Radio Wales’ Sunday Supplement programme last weekend.
The issue is also to be examined by S4C’s Y Byd Ar Bedwar programme on Tuesday night.
The WRU ran into problems last autumn when a steward was head-butted and a disabled supporter was verbally abused by drunken fans during the November internationals.
At the Wales-Italy game, a drunken fan also vandalised two journalists’ laptops inside the stadium press box.
Following Wales’ final home match of the season against France last Saturday, more fans got in touch to say they encountered more problems in both home games that had ruined their enjoyment.
Fan Andrew Seary said: “I complained to the WRU. We sat in the Lower stand, next to the aisle, and we were constantly aware of fans moving up and down the aisle.
“We counted 105 movements between 30th and 35th minute. This continued the whole game, very disgruntled…. Sooner they ban alcohol the better.”
So, far the WRU has made no suggestion it is ready to stop drinkers carrying alcohol back to their seats, but they have made claims they may consider alcohol-free, family sections within the stadium.
The email sent to the WRU from a Wales supporter:
Dear Sir / Madam,
I am writing to express my concern of the issues caused by drunken behaviour that are becoming increasingly common at the Principality Stadium.
I attended the match on Sunday with my wife and two daughters. Although the tickets are expensive for a family of four, I took advantage of the slightly reduced price and ticket availability in order for my family to experience a Six Nations match. I am a regular attended without them.
The whole experience was ruined by three men sitting behind us. Their language was very bad and loud from the start of the game however we tolerated this. There were a number of children sitting around us and it was very uncomfortable.
However by the second half it had got much worse and culminated in a pint of beer being tipped over my wife.
If you are to encourage families to attended the games then this does not bode well. I paid £260 for the pleasure of this.
In our seats below the canopy of the upper tier, we were contently dripped with beer as people carried drinks around above us and at one point dripped on from a pair of shoes hanging over the edge.
Issues around alcohol in the game have become increasingly worse over the last few year. The behaviour it fuels is a problem as well as the constant movement from seats to buy drinks and then subsequently use the toilets.
During the Scotland game where I sat in the lower tier one man was so inebriated that he could barely stand and was threatening others. He had continued to drink through the whole game.
I would appreciate your views on this matter.
The WRU reply:
Thank you very much for your email and feedback regarding your recent visit to Principality Stadium for Wales vs Italy.
It is an unfortunate fact that some rugby supporters demonstrate loutish behaviour at some of our games, although they are very much in the minority. The WRU do not tolerate unacceptable behaviour at events in the Principality Stadium and, while we cannot take responsibility for the civility and courtesy of all of the tens of thousands of fans who attend major events, our stewards are trained and instructed to deal promptly and efficiently with transgressors. If they are made aware of such instances then they are trained to react and intervene as required.
For WRU controlled events here at Principality Stadium, we have policies in place ensure that spectators can enjoy their event; such as a limit of 4 drinks per person, challenge 25 and also reserving the right to refuse service of any spectators who are deemed to be behaving in a way that may affect the enjoyment of surrounding spectators. All catering and bar staff were briefed prior to the event to ensure that these policies were followed, however, your comments have been shared with our Catering Management Team to ensure that these policies are reiterated for future events here at the stadium. We can also confirm that these policies were proactively enforced on Sunday, with a small number of supporters ejected from the Stadium and also refused service by bar staff where deemed to have drank too much.
We can confirm that the currently policy is again under review in full to consider a number of different factors and any amendments to the current policy will be communicated via the appropriate channels.
WRU Customer Care Team