Will last orders be called for drinking at rugby matches?

Wales is set to introduce alcohol-free zone at the Principality Stadium

Wales rugby union Principality Stadium drinking
Wales fans watch the match against Australia at the Principality Stadium in November
(Image credit: Michael Steele/Getty Images)

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) is planning to introduce an alcohol-free zone at the Principality Stadium following complaints about spectator behaviour.

During Wales’s autumn internationals, especially against New Zealand last month, many spectators complained of abuse from drunk fans. They also objected to supporters moving around the stadium to go to the bar or toilets.

WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips told The Times: “Our job is to deliver what the customers want. We will definitely want to try an alcohol-free zone next autumn.

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“We ran surveys in the autumn to ask people what their experience was like, what did you enjoy, what didn’t you enjoy? One good example was the whole drinking piece.

“What we now understand is that it is a big part of the experience for lots of people that come here. Coming to a rugby international they want to have a drink.

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“Equally there’s a segment that’s saying they like a different experience. They don’t want people standing up and sitting down, or they want to bring their children.”

The Times also reports that the Rugby Football Union (RFU), England’s governing body, had discussed the issue of drinking inside Twickenham.

“This is an interesting idea and we wouldn’t rule out anything which improves the customer experience,” an RFU spokesman said.

Fans had mixed reactions when commenting on the news on social media.

One supporter said rugby has “always had a drinking culture”, but anti-social behaviour is a new thing. “The anti-social behaviour has only been a recent problem in Wales because of the plastic fans that have taken over the Millenium Stadium,” the fan posted.

Twitter user Claire Roberts‏ asked “can the zone cover the whole stadium please?” while Tim Richards said: “Is this a zone as in a family area, or a ban throughout the stadium? If a zone, then [it] makes sense for families. If throughout it’s an utter nonsense if the action of one or two affects the 70,000.”

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