The number of spectators permitted for Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final 2021 has been cut in half following the UK Government’s decision to delay moving out of lockdown for another four weeks leaving fans and tournament organisers devastated.
The Government announced on Monday the current phase of lockdown would be extended beyond the June 21 ‘freedom day’ for a further four weeks to allow a higher number of the population to be vaccinated in the face of a growing number of infections nationally, largely due to the Delta variant of Covid-19.
Originally 20,000 fans were due to attend the showpiece game at Twickeneham on June 26, between two of either Bristol Bears, Exeter Chiefs, Sale Sharks and Harlequins, but the allowed capacity in the 82,000 seater stadium has now been reduced to 10,000.
Ten thousand fans were in attendance for both the European Challenge Cup and Heineken Champions Cup finals at Twickenham last month.
A first batch of 10,000 tickets for the Premiership final sold out inside 72 hours, however, those tickets will now all be refunded as a result of the government’s change in policy.
Next week just over 6,000 tickets will be released to the two clubs which reach the final to allow some ‘home’ fans to watch the games.
The other tickets will be allowed to frontline works and families of the players involved.
Premiership Rugby approached the government to request the match be a ‘pilot event’ which would have potentially allowed 20,000 people inside the stadium but their request was denied.
Disappointed rugby fans across the country are now being notified of the bad news by email and their refunds are being processed.
The news comes as a blow to rugby union with the tennis at Wimbledon and football’s Euro 2020 given permission to be pilot events this week in the Government’s Events Research Programme allowing significantly larger crowds to attend.
It was confirmed the final weekend of Wimbledon will be played on Centre Court in front of a capacity crowd of 15,000 which will be the first at a sporting event since the UK went into lockdown due to the pandemic.
And crowds of up to 45,000 will be permitted for the football European Championship semi-finals and final at Wembley in July, half the stadium’s capacity.