Exeter Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter claims rugby union is being “singled out” by restricting the crowd for the Premiership final to 10,000 fans at Twickenham.
Under pressure from Uefa, the government recently approved 60,000 fans to attend Euro 2020 knock-out matches at Wembley. Meanwhile, Wimbledon will be permitted a full house on Centre Court for the men’s and women’s finals and 32,500 spectators will be allowed to attend The Open at St George’s.
The contrast with the Premiership final between Exeter and Harlequins being allowed less than an eighth of the capacity of Twickenham led Harlequins chief executive Laurie Darymple to say that he was “at a total loss as to the logic or rationale behind spectators at live sport at the moment”
Last season Exeter won the Premiership and Champions Cup titles in empty stadiums and the prospect of more supporters missing out on another potential glory day has left Baxter venting his frustration at the inconsistency.“I don’t think anyone involved in rugby isn’t shaking their heads when they see the crowd numbers that are going to be at other sporting events,” said Baxter.
“What can Twickenham hold? 82,000? It seems very odd when other sporting venues have been allowed a quarter of their capacity. Pretty much every other sport seems to have events going on where they have a lot more than 10,000 people there. Why rugby has been singled out I don’t know.
“It’s obviously as frustrating for the supporters. There are thousands who would have gone who now aren’t going to be able to go. That’s a shame but I suppose you’ve just got to keep taking the positives. We went to two finals last year with zero supporters. Getting 10,000 in there is better than having nobody there at all.”