Sorting by


Hundreds of fans miss start of World Cup match due to crowding outside stadium

Hundreds of fans missed the start of the Rugby World Cup match between England and Argentina in Marseille after large crowds formed outside the Stade Velodrome.

The crowding was reportedly caused by issues relating to security checks and ticket scans as well as thousands of fans attempting to use the same entrance to gain access to the stadium.

Despite there being numerous empty seats inside the ground, the game proceeded at 9pm [8pm BST] as scheduled.

It has been reported that some fans were still waiting to get in 15 minutes after it started, despite arriving an hour before kick-off.

i‘s Hugh Godwin reporting from the Stade Velodrome

A bottleneck was clearly visible from the media facilities as a huge group of supporters approached the gates on one side of the stadium, up a sizeable flight of stairs.

It appeared to me on arriving three hours before kick-off that there might be difficulty getting in because there appeared to be no filtering system at any distance away from the stadium, or before the entrance gates.

So as the fans massed on the steps leading up from the Boulevard Michelet they were all funnelled into one area with no separation between them as they waited to have their ticket scanned.

They were then subjected to a body search on the stadium side of the gates – only in that area were there barriers set up to create a clear queuing system.

One fan told i his tickets were scanned twice on the way in.

It looked certain that hundreds of fans would miss kick-off, and certainly a large number had a hot and uncomfortable wait to get into a long-anticipated match for which they would have paid hundreds of pounds in travel and tickets.

The scenes were worryingly reminiscent of last year’s Champions League final in Paris when Liverpool supporters were crushed towards the turnstiles as they tried to enter the Stade de France in Paris.

Some fans were pepper sprayed by police despite being unable to move as they waited to get in.

A Uefa-commissioned review found that organisational failings “almost led to a disaster”.

This latest incident will pile further pressure on France’s authorities, as well as the World Cup organising committee and World Rugby as a whole.

Speaking before the tournament, France’s sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera had reassured fans that lessons had been learned from the chaotic scenes at the Champions League final.

“Yes, they [the fans] will be safe,” she insisted. “This morning we were with the minister of interior Gerald Darmanin to expose all that we have reinforced in terms of security, anticipation, prevention of riots. We have also made big work on the transport security.

“We are ready on all fronts. We have learnt a lot from what happened one year ago… in terms of governance, in terms of anticipating the various risks, of coordinating the response. We are more ready than ever.

“We will continue to learn, of course. We will do in due time all the learning elements we will draw – the lessons we will draw from the World Cup – to be even better for the games.

“I can assure you that you will be enjoying a very, very good World Cup here. With the organising committee, we will be ready to welcome the world.”

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button