English Rugby Fans will have to be involved in the corporate world if they are to enjoy live rugby at Twickenham this year according to a report in the Guardian newspaper.
It is reporting that the Rugby Football union Council has suspended its normal ticket allocation rules favouring clubs and will instead restrict limited ticket numbers to fulfil commercial obligations to box holders and sponsors.
If two metres is upheld as the required social distancing guideline for sporting events the number of fans that could be accommodated in the 82,000 seater stadium would be a mere 10,000.
If the distance was halved that number would more than double but the RFU have set a limit of 28,000 before any tickets would be sold beyond those to corporate partners and box holders.
The Union has lobbied Government with fears that being forced to play Autumn internationals behind closed doors would lead to a financial blow of around €100 Million.
No autumn international schedule has yet been set but pressure from all countries including Ireland on World Rugby means that it is highly likely that a window will be found after the conclusion of this season’s Heineken Champions Cup on October 17th.
The Guardian story quotes an RFU Spokesperson as saying that “Given the unprecedented situation and the extreme financial pressure the RFU is under, the RFU council agreed to temporarily suspend the ticket distribution policy to allow for a focus on fulfilling contracted ticket groups for the 20-21 season.”
“The decision was taken to preserve rugby revenues, which get invested back in the game. If it is safe for the autumn internationals to go ahead with crowds in attendance, we are hopeful that we will be able to offer tickets to a wide range of stakeholders and fans.”
The Aviva Stadium has 36 Corporate boxes with a capacity of around 1,300. In addition the premium level has 10,000 seats, though in a social distancing scenario they would all have to be spread around the stadium.
This makes up a little over 20 per cent of the capacity of the Aviva.