Australia rugby fans left to own devices



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Australia Brisbane Suncorp Stadium fans waiting Image: @amyprice21 (Twitter)

A mobile ticketing glitch by Ticketek (Australian event ticketing company) left thousands of National Rugby League (NRL) fans high and dry and they were left stuck outside Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane (Australia) recently which also led to huge concerns over leaving supporters vulnerable in wake of the world caught in the COVID-19 vortex.

The major malfunction on the evening of October 16th left staff at the preliminary final between Melbourne Storm and Canberra Raiders unable to scan tickets and briefly delayed kick off.

The Melbourne Storm is a rugby league team based in Melbourne, Victoria in Australia, which participates in NRL. The first fully professional rugby league team based in the State, the Storm entered the competition in 1998.

The Canberra Raiders are an Australian professional rugby league football club based in the national capital City of Canberra, Australian Capital Territory. They have competed in Australasia’s elite rugby league competition, the NRL premiership since 1982.

The National Rugby League is Australia’s top-level domestic men’s rugby league club competition. It contains clubs from the original Sydney club Rugby League competition, which had been running continuously since 1908.

Suncorp Stadium is a multipurpose stadium in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, located in the suburb of Milton. The current facility comprises three-tiered rectangular sporting stadium with a capacity for 52,500 people.

According to reports, as many as 20,000 people were stuck waiting while the ticketing issue was fixed. However, after the failure could not be sorted out, the organizers reportedly opened the stadium gates, allowing fans in without checking tickets or following COVID-19 protocols. Fans were left to their own devices and COVID-19 rules went for a toss.

Following the ticketing failure, many people voiced their concerns on social media platforms with one supporter stating, “If there is going to be a COVID-19 outbreak, it is going to happen at Suncorp Stadium tonight. Zero social distancing, zero direction from staff. Disgrace.”

After the match, Ticketek Australia tweeted an apology for the failure at the NRL contest. “Ticketek apologizes to Storm and Raiders fans that were delayed getting into Suncorp Stadium tonight due to a technical issue. We also apologize to the NRL and Suncorp Stadium.”

The Storm beat the Raiders 30-10 in front of 37,112 fans at the 52,500-capacity venue.

Similarly, the Ticketek issues caused a delay at the Australian Football League (AFL) Aussie football preliminary finals on October 16th at the Adelaide Oval.

The clash between Port Adelaide and Richmond reportedly welcomed 24,292 spectators into the 53,500-capacity venue.
 

Bledisloe Cup

A humongous crowd – 46,000 fans were in attendance at Auckland’s (New Zealand) Eden Park on October 18th (Sunday) for the New Zealand vs. Australia Bledisloe Cup match, but it was a different story for the final of the European Champions Cup on October 17th (Saturday) as the English professional rugby union club Exeter Chiefs’ thrilling win over French rugby union club Racing 92 was played at Ashton Gate Stadium in UK sans fans.

The Bledisloe Cup is a rugby union competition between the national teams of Australia and New Zealand that has been contested since the 1930s.

The New Zealand national rugby union team All Blacks defeated Australia 27-7 in front of a near-capacity crowd at Eden Park, which was rebranded as Coopers Catch Park for the match.

The turnout of 46,049 made the October 18th match one of the highest-attended sports events since the COVID-19 shutdown. Sports events are allowed to go ahead without any social distancing or restrictions in New Zealand, which has recorded just 25 deaths since coronavirus bared its fangs on the world.

The October 18th fixture was the second of the four-match Bledisloe Cup series between New Zealand and Australia, and followed the 16-16 draw at Wellington’s Sky Stadium on October 11th. Further competitions are planned in Sydney and Melbourne.
 

Bundesliga

Due to a recent surge in coronavirus cases in Germany, the Bundesliga has cut down on its attendance figures, with only two clubs permitting more than 1,000 onlookers.

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim greeted 6,030 spectators for its game against the German professional sports club based in Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia, Borussia Dortmund, which sold out of its 11,500 available tickets in the last round of games.

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim is a professional German association football club based in Hoffenheim, a village of Sinsheim Municipality in Baden-Württemberg (Germany).

The German professional football club Hertha BSC enjoyed 4,000 spectators for its game against German sports club Stuttgart at the 74,475-capacity Olympiastadion Berlin. In the previous weekend of games earlier this month, the Stuttgart- Bayer Leverkusen (German professional football club) fixture saw 9,500 fans at its game.

Germany’s present system of allowing spectators into sports events comes with a rider – it permits stadiums to be up to 20 percent full if the number of COVID-19 cases in the locality has been below 35 per 100,000 people in the previous seven days.

The model only applies to home fans and local authorities have the final say, with options either to reduce capacity below 20 per cent or not to allow supporters at all.

In the last round of games, seven of the nine Bundesliga games had fans present, while this week only six boasted onlookers.

German sports club FSV Mainz only let in 250 spectators for its match against Bayer Leverkusen after Germany’s Rheinhessen region went back on plans to allow in 6,000 spectators four days prior.

Similarly, German professional football club Borussia Mönchengladbach only welcomed 300 fans for its clash against German professional sports club Wolfsburg, and same was the case with German professional football club FC Koln for its match against German professional sports club Eintracht Frankfurt.
 

Denmark

The Danish Football Union (DBU) and the Superliga, the domestic top division, have launched a campaign designed to reopen a scheme that would facilitate fans to attend games in greater numbers.

The Danish Superliga is the current Danish football championship tournament, and administered by the Danish Football Association. It is the highest football league in Denmark and is currently contested by 12 teams each year, with 1-3 teams relegated.

The campaign, entitled ‘Superligaordningen – sikkert stadion under COVID-19’, is aimed to increase awareness among fans, football stakeholders and Danish authorities over how matches were staged under ‘Superligaordningen’, and convince the powers that be that a reopening of the scheme is both necessary and fully justifiable.

In June, it was announced that Danish Superliga matches could run at significantly increased capacity for the remainder of the season after authorities deemed three trial matches with 500 spectators per section a success.

Danish football had been one of the trendsetters in Europe when it came to the safe return of fans to stadia, but the scheme was suspended by the Government on September 18th. Presently, regulations are in place until at least the end of October which limits stadium attendances to 500 in total, effectively meaning that clubs are limited to 200-300 fans at games.

Superligaordningen’ was devised around the concept of lodging fans in multiple sections within a stadium, limited to 500 apiece. Fans were made to sit in allocated seats, observing social distancing rules of one meter. Ticket purchasers were obliged to provide contact information to aid authorities with track and trace measures.

The new campaign aims to demonstrate how professional football matches can be staged in a responsible manner in a COVID-19 world. This is being conducted through a social media campaign, information furnished to authorities and talks with fans.

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