Sport

Match day Cardiff slammed as ‘plastic cup-littered apocalypse filled with drunken zombies’ as booze ban calls grow

23 Nov 2021 3 minutes Read
Cardiff on match day. Picture by Richard Croft (CC BY-SA 2.0).

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.”

‘Visibly intoxicated’

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.

“It is policy for our staff to intervene if people are visibly intoxicated – this happens in three main areas: the turnstiles where people can be denied entry, at the point of sale if they try and buy alcohol, and in the stadium bowl.”

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Erisian
Erisian
12 days ago

I bet the people who run the stadium are going to put up a bigger fight than the rugby supporters.
Think of all the profit they will lose

Andrew
Andrew
12 days ago

In sharp contrast to the Welsh football internationals, where clued up socially aware fans conduct a fun and orderly indepence march to the ground. They then belt out amazing renditions of the anthem throughout the match and they actually know the words. There are usually no arrests for anti social behaviour fighting or drunken conduct. The Welsh football fan community are a credit to our nation home and away and their patriotic passion remains evident during their everyday lives and not just on match day. Who would have thought that Rugby hooliganism would become a characteristic of the modern game.… Read more »

Jack
Jack
11 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

Canton and Riverside residents would disagree. Every Wales matchday is accompanied with mass littering and men urinating on walls on Sloper Road.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1421719561483284/posts/3094646757523881

It doesn’t make headlines because there are less of them (70k rugby vs 30k football) and because it’s not in the city centre.

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
9 days ago
Reply to  Jack

You are missing the point.Even when Wales played football in front of 70K at The Millennium Stadium you still never had The Anti Social issues that happens on the level when Wales play Rugby.

CapM
CapM
12 days ago

The reason there is far less actual violence in the crowds at the stadium is not down to the WRU’s security arrangements but to those who who go out their way to avoid confrontation with those causing them problems.

Mathew Rees
Mathew Rees
11 days ago

It’s been like this for 20 years.

When I lived in Cardiff I’d lock my door or go to another city during match days.

The city centre is a no-go zone.

Glen
Glen
11 days ago

Every time Wales play I hear people, both men and women – say ‘I’m going on an all-dayer Saturday,’ whether they are going to the game or just staying in their home town.

Rugby and getting steaming is now synonymous.

Eifion
Eifion
11 days ago

Here we go again, this site is more akin to a soccer fanzine or the Wrexham Leader. It’s a shame as the issue raised is serious and needs action. So, we’ve had for weeks of Wales playing the best teams in the world, 60 or 70 thousand plus supporters at each game and this is all you publish! Yet if a soccer crowd sings our anthem or someone farts in Wrexham it’s headline news! I see you’ve mysteriously missed publishing an article on the soccer hooligan problems with Swansea City on the weekend??? You have to stop being so biased… Read more »

Jack
Jack
11 days ago
Reply to  Eifion

Spot on. They also never report on the absolute state that football fans leave Canton in every time Wales play football at the Cardiff City stadium. Litter everywhere, and men urinating over walls of people’s homes.

But Nation.Cymru say that they’re “The greatest fans on the planet”

Paul Reynolds
11 days ago
Reply to  Jack

Or when they sing “Better Black than Jack ”

Nation thinks every Welsh fan is Ellis James.

Last edited 11 days ago by Paul Reynolds
Dr John Ball
Dr John Ball
11 days ago

“…our staff to intervene if people are visibly intoxicated…” Clearly they are not!
But what about visitors who get drunk after entering the stadium?
This whole business is giving rugby and Wales a bad name, drop the complacency WRU and act!

Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
10 days ago

Match days? The last time I was in Heol Santes Fair in Caerdydd on a Friday night was an eye-opener. A line of parked ambulances waiting to be used. Hordes of police ditto. People in hi-viz bibs waiting to help the drunks and stop them choking on their own vomit. Later piles of rubbish in the streets from takeaways. I am told that’s actually EVERY Friday and Saturday night.

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
9 days ago

How times have changed.I remember a time when Rugby fans at The Old Arms Park where genuine Rugby Fans.They would sing I Bob yn Syn Fyddlon and Calon Lan.These days of those who go to watch Wales play Rugby around 95% of them don’t know a Calon Lan between them.They can’t even get the words right for the Chorus of Bread of Heaven. I have followed football for very many years and with the exception of Swansea Cardiff Derby games I have found football a far safer environment than any Rugby International in Cardiff. Just ask anyone who works on… Read more »

Last edited 9 days ago by Johnny Gamble
Hywel3E
Hywel3E
6 days ago

I go to every 6-Nations and Autumn match, and this isn’t a picture I recognise. There is beer consumed regularly throughout the matches, but in the 11 years I’ve been going, I’ve never seen any vomiting or fighting, nor has anyone had to be escorted out of the Stadium in my section or the ones I can see, apart from that twp pitch invader the other day. It is true that the Autumn Series is more commercial, with a younger audience who don’t know the songs/ can’t be bothered to sing, but generally belt out the Anthem, drink more steadily,… Read more »

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