Premiership Rugby deny segregation policy
April 19, 2012
The traditional season-opening London Double Header has long been a colourful occasion © Getty Images
Premiership Rugby have moved to play down reports that they are introducing segregation for the traditional season-opening London double header at Twickenham.
The two matches involving Harlequins, Saracens, London Irish and Wasps - should they succeed in avoiding relegation from the Aviva Premiership - will attract a crowd in the region of 75,000.
In confirming the September 1 event, Premiership Rugby stated: "For the first time this season each club will be given a specific area of the ground for its supporters".
Premiership Rugby say the intention was to ensure each club's season ticket holders can sit together. But it was interpreted by many supporters as the introduction of crowd segregation, an alien concept in rugby and it prompted an angry reaction.
Premiership Rugby were forced to issue a follow-up statement clarifying that supporters are encouraged to sit anywhere in the ground.
A spokesman for the Premiership clubs' umbrella body said: "There is absolutely no segregation at the London double header on September 1. Through Ticketmaster we have identified where club season ticket and friends and family allocations will be located, allowing fans to make their seat choices accordingly.
"We value the London double header, which brings together four teams and would encourage neutral fans to get behind a team for the day which makes for a great atmosphere within the stadium."
Should Wasps fail in their bid to avoid relegation, their place in the double header would be taken by another club. The Premiership fixtures will be confirmed in early July.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9