ENGLAND RUGBY fans are demanding ticket refunds after being seated within a surprise alcohol-free trial area.
Spectators attending Saturday’s Six Nations clash with Wales at Twickenham arrived at their seats to discover they were part of the trial.
Fans were prevented from taking drinks within view of the pitch, according to the Telegraph, which is said to have “ruined” the experience.
As a result, spectators were forced to choose between throwing away their beverages or consuming them quickly so they could watch the game.
Many have said they were blindsided by the revelation they had bought tickets within a designated alcohol-free zone.
One man is said to have been seen “downing” four pints so they could get to their seat, with a pint of Guinness costing £7.50 at matches.
Meanwhile, another fan told the Telegraph they spent £117 on their ticket and a further £14.70 on two drinks prior to kick-off.
They claimed they were at no stage told of the trial.
Although England went on to win 16-14, many fans were left angry with the alcohol-free trial.
It was part of a plan to ensure fans would not be blocked by others visiting the toilet.
However, it is said to have caused more confusion as spectators who had made it to their seats with drinks were asked to leave, including an entire row at one point.
A source added: “Due to lack of planning and to some extent lack of care for the fans attending, this was a disaster.”
The report adds that the only visible signage for the trial area inside Twickenham was at the steps towards the seats and at the seats themselves.
Fans had already bought alcoholic drinks before seeing the sign and there were no details of the trial on the ticketing app.
According to the England Rugby website, similar measures will be in place for the match against Ireland on March 9.
Plans are set to affect lower tier L15 and L16 as well as upper tier U14 and U15.
The webpage explains: “When selecting seats within these areas ticket purchasers will clearly see that they are purchasing within an alcohol-free zone and will tick a box confirming that they have been made aware of the alcohol-free policy.”Spectators in a section of Twickenham were prevented from taking alcoholic drinks within view of the pitch[/caption]
An RFU spokesperson said: “We know the full match day experience is very important to fans, which is why we continue to evolve the wider Twickenham event day experiences before, during and after the game.
“Twickenham Stadium introduced alcohol-free areas for our two home Guinness Men’s Six Nations fixtures on a trial basis based on supporters’ feedback.
“When selecting seats within these areas ticket purchasers would have clearly seen that they are buying within an alcohol-free zone and have ticked a box confirming that they have been made aware of the alcohol-free policy.
“To understand the views of fans we conduct surveys after each game about their experience and encourage feedback from those sitting in these areas so that we can review ahead of the Ireland fixture.
“We will also be gaining feedback and insight from our own staff managing those areas on Saturday.”