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Security measures that caused rugby delays are here to stay, says defiant WRU

Enhanced security measures that caused thousands of rugby fans to miss the kick off for the Australia match are here to stay, said a defiant Welsh Rugby Union on Saturday evening. Rugby fans missed kick off for the opening autumn international because of huge queues to get into the Principality Stadium on Saturday. Supporters were left standing in the rain outside several gates as a result of enhanced security checks because of the unprecedented terror threat in the UK.

Fans queuing at the stadium as the game kicks off Fans queue at the stadium

Stadium chiefs had warned fans to get to the stadium early1 , with every supporter due to be searched for the first time ever . A warning was also issued stating large bags and umbrellas would not be allowed into the ground.

TV pictures inside the Principality showed scores of empty seats as the players emerged from the tunnel, with BBC TV presenter John Inverdale raising the issue on air . A crowd of more than 66,000 was due at the match. The WRU said after the match: “Enhanced security measures ensure everybody entering Principality Stadium is checked on arrival at the turnstiles . For the Under Armour Series, we have doubled the pre-game opening hours to three hours to give fans the opportunity to avoid the queues and we have made every effort to communicate to supporters to plan to arrive early and leave large bags and large umbrellas at home to avoid missing kick off.

“We received great support from all of our partners, including the media, South Wales Police and Cardiff Council, getting this message out in the build up to today s event.

“The safety and enjoyment of our visitors is of paramount importance.

“Welsh rugby fans are renowned for their contribution to the fantastic atmosphere inside the venue and vital support they give to the team on the pitch.

“Today thousands of fans enjoyed our new and improved pre-match entertainment schedule from three hours before kick-off, including live music and early bird offers at our retail units.

“It is important to stress that these security measures are here to stay and we don t want anyone to miss kick off.

“We will continue to urge supporters to allow more time for getting in to the stadium in future, as these checks are vital to the safety of all attendees.”

Thousands of fans remain in queues with just two minutes before the start of the game.

Tom Lee-wah from Cardiff said the price of the ticket didn’t warrant having to queue and miss part of the match. Another fan said she had been waiting for nearly half an hour in the rain.

“We’ve missed the great atmosphere now . Normally we like to go in and get a drink and take it all in before the match starts but we have missed all that.

“We were told we should come earlier because of the security check but we did come thirty minutes before kick off.”

Several fans took to social media to vent their frustration about the situation, with some describing scenes of chaos at the crowded gates. One, Tom Lewis, reported being stuck in a queue for an hour with no sign of movement, while fans at Gate 7 told WalesOnline they had no chance of making kick-off despite turning up 40 minutes before the scheduled start time.

Supporter Hattie Jones tweeted the Principality Stadium, saying: “We’ve been queuing for 65 minutes but are still told the queue is more than 60 minutes . Five minutes away from kick-off . Are there any refunds available.”

Cardiff MP Stephen Doughty called the crowd handling at Gate 1 an “utter shambles”. He said in a tweet he’d “never known it so bad in 18 years” and had reported his concerns to South Wales Police and the WRU.

There were also reports of female fans getting to the front of queues only to be sent to other queues by male stewards who were unable to search women. The WRU issued a detailed warning to fans earlier this week but it appears many were unaware just how thorough the checks would be in comparison to previous games. Small bags and handbags were permitted, provided they were no larger than 35cm x 40cm x 19cm.

References

  1. ^ Stadium chiefs had warned fans to get to the stadium early (www.walesonline.co.uk)

Security measures that caused rugby delays are here to stay, says …

Enhanced security measures that caused thousands of rugby fans to miss the kick off for the Australia match are here to stay, said a defiant Welsh Rugby Union on Saturday evening. Rugby fans missed kick off for the opening autumn international because of huge queues to get into the Principality Stadium on Saturday. Supporters were left standing in the rain outside several gates as a result of enhanced security checks because of the unprecedented terror threat in the UK.

Fans queuing at the stadium as the game kicks off Fans queue at the stadium

Stadium chiefs had warned fans to get to the stadium early1 , with every supporter due to be searched for the first time ever . A warning was also issued stating large bags and umbrellas would not be allowed into the ground.

TV pictures inside the Principality showed scores of empty seats as the players emerged from the tunnel, with BBC TV presenter John Inverdale raising the issue on air . A crowd of more than 66,000 was due at the match. The WRU said after the match: “Enhanced security measures ensure everybody entering Principality Stadium is checked on arrival at the turnstiles . For the Under Armour Series, we have doubled the pre-game opening hours to three hours to give fans the opportunity to avoid the queues and we have made every effort to communicate to supporters to plan to arrive early and leave large bags and large umbrellas at home to avoid missing kick off.

“We received great support from all of our partners, including the media, South Wales Police and Cardiff Council, getting this message out in the build up to today s event.

“The safety and enjoyment of our visitors is of paramount importance.

“Welsh rugby fans are renowned for their contribution to the fantastic atmosphere inside the venue and vital support they give to the team on the pitch.

“Today thousands of fans enjoyed our new and improved pre-match entertainment schedule from three hours before kick-off, including live music and early bird offers at our retail units.

“It is important to stress that these security measures are here to stay and we don t want anyone to miss kick off.

“We will continue to urge supporters to allow more time for getting in to the stadium in future, as these checks are vital to the safety of all attendees.”

Thousands of fans remain in queues with just two minutes before the start of the game.

Tom Lee-wah from Cardiff said the price of the ticket didn’t warrant having to queue and miss part of the match. Another fan said she had been waiting for nearly half an hour in the rain.

“We’ve missed the great atmosphere now . Normally we like to go in and get a drink and take it all in before the match starts but we have missed all that.

“We were told we should come earlier because of the security check but we did come thirty minutes before kick off.”

Several fans took to social media to vent their frustration about the situation, with some describing scenes of chaos at the crowded gates. One, Tom Lewis, reported being stuck in a queue for an hour with no sign of movement, while fans at Gate 7 told WalesOnline they had no chance of making kick-off despite turning up 40 minutes before the scheduled start time.

Supporter Hattie Jones tweeted the Principality Stadium, saying: “We’ve been queuing for 65 minutes but are still told the queue is more than 60 minutes . Five minutes away from kick-off . Are there any refunds available.”

Cardiff MP Stephen Doughty called the crowd handling at Gate 1 an “utter shambles”. He said in a tweet he’d “never known it so bad in 18 years” and had reported his concerns to South Wales Police and the WRU.

There were also reports of female fans getting to the front of queues only to be sent to other queues by male stewards who were unable to search women. The WRU issued a detailed warning to fans earlier this week but it appears many were unaware just how thorough the checks would be in comparison to previous games. Small bags and handbags were permitted, provided they were no larger than 35cm x 40cm x 19cm.

References

  1. ^ Stadium chiefs had warned fans to get to the stadium early (www.walesonline.co.uk)

These are the new enhanced security checks everyone going to a …

Full details have emerged of the enhanced security measures Welsh rugby fans will encounter for the first time at the Principality Stadium this weekend. Given the terrorist attacks in the UK this year, new procedures have been put in place for Wales opening autumn international against Australia this Saturday. These will include 100 per cent personal checks at the turnstiles, which will apply to everybody entering the stadium.

There will be enhanced security at the Principality Stadium this autumn

Fans are also being advised to leave large bags and umbrellas at home, as they will not be able to take them into the ground. Small bags and handbags will be permitted, provided they are no larger than 35cm x 40cm x 19cm. There are no bag storage facilities available at the stadium, so spectators are advised to plan ahead if they intend travelling to Cardiff with a large bag.

Read More

Small umbrellas are permitted, but cannot be used when the event is in progress, while there were will be strictly no golfing umbrellas allowed inside the venue. In a statement on the enhanced security, the WRU have said: The latest security measures include 100 per cent personal checks at the turnstiles and the advice to leave large bags and large umbrellas at home to avoid disappointment and causing further delay to fellow supporters entering the stadium.

Welsh fans will be converging on the stadium in their thousands this weekend

Due to the new measures, fans are being urged to get to the ground well in advance of the 5.15pm kick-off. The stadium will open three hours before all four Test matches this autumn, instead of the 90 minutes Welsh rugby-goers will be used to.

With more than 66,000 tickets having been sold for the Australia match and enhanced security in place, the message to all supporters is to get to the ground early.

Read More

The WRU have turned to Wales prop Samson Lee to deliver a personal reminder to that effect via a WRUTV spoof video. Lee acted out scenes filmed at the team hotel and the stadium to show supporters that poor planning ahead of match day now comes with the genuine risk of missing kick off.

Samson Lee in action at the stadium during last year’s match against Australia

The Scarlets star said: As a squad, we are used to working to a strict schedule where everything from our eating, sleeping, training, kit and transport is planned out to ensure the very best preparation for international matches.

The filming for the Don t miss kick off video has really hit home how well prepared we are as a team, but also shows the consequences associated with lack of proper planning.

Read More

With the enhanced security measures we are becoming accustomed to in the UK, this is an important message for anyone with tickets for the Under Armour Series and supporters need to arrive early for the 100 per cent search regimes, or, like me in the film, they risk missing kick off!

Ask any player and they will tell you the best feeling in the world is hearing the roar of the stadium crowd during the anthems.

We want every single fan in their seats for the start of the match and I really hope this film raises awareness and motivates our supporters to plan ahead this autumn, as well as being a bit of fun! While South Wales Police stress there is no specific threat to Cardiff, bosses at the Principality Stadium routinely work closely with the Police and the Wales Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit to deliver appropriate security measures for major events.

Stadium manager Mark Williams said: The safety and enjoyment of supporters on matchday is our top priority and so we have increased the gate opening hours to three hours before kick-off for the autumn international matches.

This will allow a capacity crowd to pass through the enhanced security checks safely and in plenty of time to enjoy the games and the renowned pre-match build up at Principality Stadium.

We strongly urge fans to assist us in maintaining a safe and secure stadium by getting in early and leaving large bags and large umbrellas at home to avoid unnecessary delays and disappointment.