Hadleigh Parkes of Wales. Pic: Simon King/Replay Images.

WRU Insist Half A Booze Plan Is Better Than No Plan At All

By Paul Jones

Steve Phillips insists his “half measures” policy will stop drunken behaviour at Wales matches – despite a sceptical response from fans online.

Welsh Rugby Union chief executive Phillips has admitted he was embarrassed by some of the problems inside the Principality Stadium over recent years.

But he believes the issues of drink ruining the atmosphere will be solved by the Union’s plan to close bars at half time and serve weaker beer.

The Union have been under pressure from many fans to shut the bars during the game itself or prevent people from taking pints back to their seats while the game is going on – as is routine at football matches.

Instead, the half-time, half-strength compromise plan has been settled on which the Union hope will not have a major impact on bar takings.

“We have measures which are designed to change a direction of travel from some quarters detected at our Autumn Nations Series matches without negatively impacting the experience of a hardcore and significant supporter base who make the Principality Stadium experience what it is,” said Phillips.

“Some of the stories we heard were embarrassing.

“We’re not being forced to do this, but we think it’s the right thing to do. It wasn’t a difficult decision at all. We’re going to drop a bit of revenue, but it’s the right thing to do.

“We recognise these trial measures will be welcomed by some fans, others will feel we’ve either gone too far or done too little.

“These measures are about getting the right balance for our fans to ensure they enjoy a great stadium experience during the upcoming Six Nations.”

Wales will kick off their 2022 Six Nations campaign this Saturday. with an away clash against Ireland, whilst their first home match will come a week later when they host Scotland.

The moves come after incidents of poor behaviour by fans at Wales games in October and November, including pitch invasions in consecutive games, one of which hampered Liam Williams’ efforts to score a try.

There were also reports of children being vomited on and the common complaint of missed action while people shift in their seats to let beer carriers go by.

“We want our supporters to remain passionate and enthused,” added Phillips.

“And to continue to bring their best voices to the Principality Stadium – throughout the recent pandemic it is our supporters who we, and the Wales team, have missed most – but we also need them to behave responsibly and to encourage those around them to do the same.”

Beers with a lower alcohol percentage will be phased into bars on the concourses at the stadium, the WRU said, and outlets selling food and drinks will close after halftime of the matches against Scotland, France and Italy.

The WRU introduced an alcohol-free zone in 2018, a self-contained area in the North Stand housing 4,200 people, which has since become a permanent facility.

The WRU said the measures will be run on a trial basis and “will be subject to an ongoing review.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.