Match day Cardiff slammed as ‘plastic cup-littered apocalypse filled with drunken zombies’ as booze ban calls grow
Cardiff on the day of an international rugby match has been slammed as a “plastic cup-littered apocalypse, filled with drunken zombies” as calls have grown for Welsh rugby to get to grips with its drinking problem – including a ban on selling beer in the stadium during the match.
The last two games at the Principality Stadium have made headlines due to the behaviour of fans, with a six-year-old left “in floods of tears” after he was vomited on at Saturday’s match against Australia.
Charities have called for an end to selling beer during games, saying that the stadium’s city centre-based location makes it an unique case as fans can drink heavily before and after matches.
Writing today, the Telegraph’s rugby correspondent Ben Coles said that it was time to get to grips with the issue, and that Cardiff “resembles a plastic cup-littered apocalypse, filled with drunken zombies”.
Restrictions on the sale of alcohol within the ground needed to be brought in to stop such “unsavory” incidents in the future, he said.
“Gradually those scenes of drunken chaos have been creeping inside the arena itself, with the Principality Stadium memorably described recently as the ‘world’s biggest pub’,” he said.
He pointed to other incidents over the past week, including a brawl and a pitch invader during the South Africa game, and asked whether supporters should be able to enjoy the match “without wondering whether a scrap is about to break out, or if a pint will be accidentally spilled down their back, or whether a supporter behind them will need to throw up or relieve themselves?”
“Tackling the increasing frequency of those incidents now, rather than addressing them after a potentially serious incident in the future, feels necessary given how the matchday experience has changed in recent years.”
The Autumn Internationals have been marked throughout for criticism of the amount of drinking at the Principality Stadium, with the Chief Executive of a Cardiff-based recovery centre calling for a ban on alcohol during Wales’ rugby matches after witnessing “frightening” levels of drinking at the game against the All Blacks.
Former TV director and actor Wynford Ellis Owen, who will celebrate 30 years without drink this year after a long battle with alcoholism, said that excessive drinking had become “normalised to such an extent that it’s now an epidemic”.
The Institute of Alcohol Studies has now also called for an end to the “cosy relationship” between alcohol and rugby.
“The normalisation of heavy drinking in relation to sport is at odds with the health benefits of participating in sport,” IAS head of research Dr Sadie Boniface told the BBC.
The Welsh Rugby Union said it “was sorry to hear about” the experience of the family that was vomited upon.
“In excess of 275,000 fans have attended the autumn nations series games and the vast majority of fans enjoy themselves in a responsible and considerate way,” a spokesman said.
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