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02nd Feb 2022

Bars to close early at Wales Six Nations games due to antisocial behaviour

Daniel Brown

The WRU will also serve weaker beer at games

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) will shut bars at half-time in Six Nations matches as they try and prevent anti-social behaviour at the Principality Stadium.

As well as closing bars early, it was announced that the WRU would serve weaker beer. The announcement comes after several incidents of anti-social behaviour in the 2021 Autumn Nations series.

During the Autumn Nations series, there were two pitch invasions in games against New Zealand and South Africa and reports of drunkenness among supporters. 

In the crowd, a young boy’s first rugby match was ruined after he was left in “floods of tears” after being vomited on by a drunk fan sat behind him.

The new measures follow fan surveys and will be trialed at the 2022 Six Nations, where they will be subject to an ongoing review.

In terms of the beer that is on offer for fans, it will be draught beer with a lower-alcohol percentage, with official brewer Heineken International using 4.1% ABV Amstel Bier to replace the stronger Heineken (5%) product in all areas of the stadium. 

“We want supporters to remain passionate and enthused and to continue to bring their best voices to the Principality Stadium but we also need them to behave responsibly and encourage those around them to do the same,” said WRU chief executive Steve Phillips.

“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.

“These measures are not radical, but seek to address an issue recently recognised and it is my commitment to all Wales supporters we will not stop until this issue is eradicated.

“We have always boasted we have the best supporters in the world game in Wales and believe this remains the case.

“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.”

The WRU introduced an alcohol-free zone in 2018 which allowed over 4,000 spectators to watch the match in the North Stand with no alcohol available. The alcohol-free zone has since become a permanent facility.

The governing body released a statement which said that surveys indicated that “drinking socially at rugby matches is an important part of the event experience for many attendees”.

It added that “it is not clear if there is a causal relationship between alcohol consumption and any poor behaviour at matches”.

Principality Stadium manager Mark Williams said: “There is evidence, some of which has commanded significant media coverage, crowd behaviour at some matches has been a problem in some areas.

“We know from our customer surveys our food and drink is an important part of the enjoyment of international rugby for many supporters.

“We have listened to customer feedback and conducted our own surveys and we will be trialling new measures which we hope will encourage improved behaviour from the recognised minority at matches who risk spoiling the experience for those around them.

“There is a balancing act at play here. A safe and positive experience for fans is of primary importance, but we are also aware actions can have unintended consequences so will be watching closely.

“It is important supporters enjoy their visit to Principality Stadium and we will continue to do what we can to ensure this is the case for all.”

Wales’ Six Nations campaign begins on Saturday February 5 when they travel to Ireland, before retuning for their home opener against Scotland on Saturday 12 February.

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