Barbarians Clash Could Play In Front of 20k Fans

September 03, 2020

- Grant Whittington

This year’s October 25 England international clash with the Barbarians could possibly end up hosting the largest number of fans at a single UK live sports event since mid-March. In the event Government concedes to the Rugby Football Union’s special request to host aarge number of fans, the event could see as many as 20,000 fans and supporters in the stands at Twickenham on matchday Sunday.

What’s more, the non-cap event could in such an instance become a crucial test of the practical viability of Government’s own plan of action pertaining to the welcoming back of supporters to UK-wide big sports contents.

Tickets to the big and hopefully well attended event went on sale earlier this week.

RFU Working With Government

Rugby Football Union CEO Bill Sweeney has in the meantime explained that the organisation is currently working in close collaboration with local government as well as local health and municipal authorities – all in an attempt to create a safe and secure return of sports fans to the country’s national stadiums and arenas.

And even though 20,000 supporters may seem like an enormous number of spectators, when compared to the number of fans typically present at the famous event, it really isn’t that big a number at all. But given nature of social distancing policies and guidelines, Sweeney says this would be the maximum allowable number applied given the size of the venue and available free space in which to move around.

Safety Still First

But with all of that having been said, stressed Sweeney, the safety of spectators as well as that of local residents living in the vicinity of Twickenham is being upheld as the highest priority. To this end, several measures are currently being rolled out and implemented for those events adhering to the relevant guidelines provided by government and the national Sports Ground Safety Authority.

While the RFU is currently still awaiting Government’s stamp of approval for the hosting of such a large number of spectators at Twickenham come October, the organisation has said that it feels confident of the upcoming approval of its application. It already has exceptionally strong and fail-safe physical distancing measures in place, explains a statement recently issued by the leading England sports authority.

Quarter Capacity Applied For

The 20,000 spectators being applied for from government, represents a little less than 25% of the famous stadium’s normal capacity, which is 82,000. The number of spectators being applied for, explains the statement, was determined based on physical distancing protocols focused on mitigating the risks of individual infection.

Attendance conditions are to include tickets only being permitted to be issued as “seated together” to those ticketholders sharing a single household. And this, said the RFU, will apply also to transferred tickets. Transferred tickets will in fact enjoy priority seating, followed by bookings made by First XV members on September 7, concludes the official RFU statement.

Since all major sports events were in mid-March put on indefinite hold, it is 100% understandable that the organisation would want to do everything in its power to ensure a safe and therefore successful relaunch of live spectatorship. Teams and clubs across all sports disciplines have been struggling to keep head above water – with many of the smaller clubs relying solely on ticket sales.

Thanks to government’s own pilot initiative, fans have started making a slow and small-scale return to some of the smaller domestic sports events. Two events recently staged with a small number of fans in the audience were the World Snooker Championships, which competition was played in Sheffield, and the August 1 Glorious Goodwood horse racing festival.

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