Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter has claimed that rugby has been “singled out” after the attendance for Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership final was reduced to 10,000 fans.
Premiership chiefs had hoped to have 20,000 supporters attend the final at Twickenham Stadium, which has a capacity of 82,000, but only half that number will attend after the government refused to grant the game “test pilot” status.
Over 19,000 supporters attended the English football team’s Euro 2020 game with the Czech Republic at Wembley on Tuesday, leading Baxter to tell the BBC that he believes rugby has been unfairly treated.
The date has been set ?
This is the ??????? 80 minutes of the season ?
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) June 19, 2021
Rob Baxter: ‘Why rugby has been singled out, I don’t know.’
“It is fantastic there are some supporters there, because we went to two finals and semi-finals last season with zero supporters, so that’s great and is a very positive step forward,” Baxter said.
“I don’t think anyone involved in rugby isn’t shaking their head a little bit when they see the crowd numbers that are going to be happening at other sporting events, both now and very quickly, especially when you consider Twickenham is an 82,000 capacity.
“It seems very odd. Why rugby has been singled out, I don’t know.”
Premiership forced to refund tickets for Saturday’s final.
Tournament organisers were forced to refund all tickets that were sold for Saturday’s final between Exeter and Harlequins after the news broke that only 10,000 fans would be allowed to attend.
Tickets were then reallocated among those who had secured their seats, with priority given to supporters of the two teams in the final, as well as 500 emergency workers who have been invited to the match.
The game kicks off at Twickenham at 5.30pm, less than an hour after the British and Irish Lions’ game against Japan at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh will finish.