‘Harrowing’ Friday night Six Nations clash in Cardiff ‘shouldn’t happen again’ say pundits
Correspondents in the UK press have called for Friday night fixtures not to happen again, saying that they created a “harrowing” atmosphere in the centre of the city and ruined the “tournament’s appeal” for travelling fans.
The game was played in front of around 11,000 empty seats with an attendance of 63,208 in a stadium that holds 74,500. It included a visibly sparsely attended no-alcohol section in Glanmor’s Gap on the north side of the Principality Stadium.
Tickets going on sale later than usual, rising fuel prices, a lack of travelling French fans and the cost of a ticket have all been raised as contributing factors.
But the Telegraph‘s correspondent Kate Rowan said that the late kick-off on a Friday night had also created an “intimidating” atmosphere for women in the city centre, saying that the “booze-fuelled streets and woeful tourist infrastructure leave a harrowing experience”.
“There were lewd remarks being shouted at female fans, and two young female fans who had been heckled persistently on their walk towards the stadium felt the need to run to escape it,” she said.
“Rugby prides itself on its friendly and welcoming crowds but this would not be encouraging more women or families to attend.
“There has been much talk from CVC, who own a one-seventh stake in the Six Nations as well as their investment in Premiership Rugby, about attracting new audiences and it is hard to think who would want this Friday-night experience in Cardiff.”
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail‘s rugby correspondent Chris Foy also warned against further Friday night fixtures.
“Friday night fixtures don’t work for the paying spectator — proved again by the sight of 11,000 empty seats at the Principality Stadium, for the visit of France,” he said.
“There are particular logistical issues in Cardiff such as limited hotel and match-day train capacity, but also visiting fans face more of a challenge to travel in numbers, which is part of the tournament’s appeal. Three fixtures on each Saturday, please.”
Other countries had refused to stage fixtures in this slot.
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