Paris – Rugby’s global governing body on Sunday said World Cup organisers would improve access to the Velodrome stadium in Marseille following reports of chaotic scenes ahead of England’s 27-10 victory over Argentina.
The incident brought back uncomfortable memories of the organisational fiasco in Paris last year before the 2022 Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool.
World Rugby released a statement saying the 2023 World Cup organising committee was “taking steps to improve access” to the iconic stadium that is usually the home of the Marseille football team “following delays” ahead of Saturday’s match.
Organisers will also deploy more volunteers to welcome fans at the stadium, increase rugby-related announcements on public transport and provide greater information on how, when and where to access the stadium, World Rugby said.
#RWC2023 chaos in Marseille. Shockingly poor management of supporters trying to get in. Thankfully we are talking rugby fans and not football pic.twitter.com/BlBPL40CAH
— Julian Pike (@julian_pike) September 9, 2023
Late on Saturday night, World Rugby launched an investigation after some fans who struggled to get into the ground for the Pool D match claimed on social media that they feared for their safety.
In May last year, the Champions League final at the Stade de France was delayed by 37 minutes as fans struggled to get into the national stadium after police funnelled them into overcrowded bottlenecks as they approached.
Police then fired tear gas towards thousands of mainly Liverpool supporters locked behind metal fences outside the stadium.
Ahead of the Rugby World Cup, France’s interior minister Gerald Darmanin and Sports Minister Amelie Oudea-Castera told reporters they were “confident” and had “learned lessons” from the football showpiece.
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