Belfast Telegraph

Irish rugby fans furious over cost of ticket deals

The union representing professional rugby players yesterday joined fans in criticising the IRFU's decision to charge fans €340 (£280) to see Ireland's autumn matches.

Supporters have been told by the IRFU they must fork out for all four autumn games and they cannot choose individual matches.

But yesterday the Irish Rugby Union Players Association (IRUPA) criticised the ticket prices, pointing out that they were being introduced at a time when some players' salaries were being cut by as much as 30%.

“Profits at the IRFU have also gone up on the back of the performances of those players. As a fan going to see these games, it's hefty enough in the current times,” said IRUPA chief executive Niall Woods.

According to the IRFU, however, those who pay the €340 (£280) will enjoy an “enhanced offering” at the new Aviva Stadium.

The match against South Africa on November 6 marks Ireland's first appearance in their redeveloped home at Lansdowne Road.

Tickets for all four November internationals against South Africa, New Zealand, Argentina and Samoa are being sold as a package, with a price of €340 (£280) for stand seats, €425 (£350) for premium and €135 (£111) for schools seats.

“Any person wishing to purchase a ticket for any one of the games must also purchase the same ticket for the other three games,” the IRFU said yesterday, to the fury of some fans.

Tickets for Ireland's home Six Nations internationals against France and England are also being sold as a package of €200 (£164) for stand tickets — working out at €100 (£82) a game.

Defending its general entry ticket prices, the IRFU said they reflected “the enhanced offering to patrons in the new Aviva Stadium with its modern design giving greater standards in terms of seating, views of the pitch, as well as access to a greater number of concession stands, restaurants and bars”.

The union, it said, was a nonprofit organisation and the only dividend it produced was one of participation in sport.

“As such, the Ireland team and international games in the Aviva Stadium need to produce a financial surplus that is then fully distributed throughout all levels of the game. This is needed to develop and nurture the future of the sport,” it said in a statement.

“Reduced cost ticket packages will remain in place offering greater value to supporters, as well as schoolboy/girl packages, to all games in the Aviva Stadium.”

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