Bars at Principality Stadium will be shut for half of each match during this year’s Six Nations as the Welsh Rugby Union seeks to address reports of anti-social behaviour at the venue during recent fixtures.
Lower-percentage alcohol draught beer will also be phased into bars on concourses at the 74,000-seat stadium for Wales’ matches against Scotland, France and Italy. Heineken International, the stadium’s official brewer, will bring in 4.1% ABV Amstel Bier to eventually replace the stronger Heineken (5%) product.
The WRU is introducing the measures on the back of a number of high-profile incidents at Principality Stadium, including two intrusions onto the pitch in consecutive matches. These were accompanied by reports of poor behaviour from a “small minority” of supporters.
The WRU said it has embraced feedback from supporters and has been informed by an extensive customer survey taken after each game to ensure the match-day experience at Principality Stadium is upheld.
The measures, which have been put in place on a trial basis for the Six Nations and will be subject to an ongoing review, will see food and beverage outlets in all concourses closed after half-time.
Pre-match messaging on all WRU channels and in-house stadium messages will also promote responsible drinking, positive behaviour and consideration of others. The WRU said that stadium stewarding teams will also be addressing poor behaviour with “increased vigour”.
WRU chief executive Steve Phillips said: “We want our supporters to remain passionate and enthused and to continue to bring their best voices to the Principality Stadium – throughout the recent pandemic it is our supporters who we, and the Wales team, have missed most – but we also need them to behave responsibly and to encourage those around them to do the same.
“We have taken a series of measures which are designed to change a direction of travel from some quarters which was detected at our Autumn Nations Series matches, but do so without negatively impacting the experience of a hardcore and hugely significant base of supporters who make the Principality Stadium experience what it is.”
Principality Stadium manager Mark Williams added: “We know from our customer surveys that our food and beverage offering is an important part of the enjoyment of international rugby for many supporters, for tens of thousands of supporters in fact.
“But we have listened carefully to all customer feedback and conducted our own extensive surveys and we will be trialling a number of new measures which we hope will encourage improved behaviour from the recognised minority at matches who risk spoiling the experience for those around them.
“There is a balancing act at play here. A safe and positive experience for all fans is of primary importance, but we are also acutely aware that actions can have unintended consequences so we will be watching closely.”
The WRU was the first rugby body to introduce a recognised alcohol free zone in 2018 on the back of calls from fans for a more family-focused experience. The 4,200-capacity zone is a self-contained area in the North Stand and has been made a permanent fixture at Wales matches.
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