Enhanced Access Promised for Marseille Stadium During Rugby World Cup Following Fan Entry Delays

Enhanced Access Promised for Marseille Stadium During Rugby World Cup Following Fan Entry Delays

In response to the recent inconveniences experienced by fans trying to access Marseille’s Stade Vélodrome during the Rugby World Cup, organizers have pledged to implement measures aimed at improving the overall fan experience.

During England’s match against Argentina on Saturday night, a significant number of the 63,118 ticket-holders faced lengthy queues, causing them to miss the start of the game, which kicked off at 9 p.m. A similar situation was reported in Bordeaux, where Ireland fans had difficulty accessing the stadium for the match against Romania, with some still waiting outside as the national anthems began.

Recognizing the importance of fan satisfaction, Rugby World Cup organizers issued a statement on Sunday, stating, “Fan experience is paramount to everyone involved in the staging of the tournament.” To address the issues faced by fans, they have announced several steps to enhance access to Stade Vélodrome.

For the upcoming matches to be held in Marseille, including South Africa vs. Scotland on Sunday, France vs. Namibia on September 21, South Africa vs. Tonga on October 1, and two quarterfinals, France 2023 will deploy additional service volunteers. These volunteers will be tasked with welcoming fans and directing ticket-holders to the appropriate entry points, helping streamline the entry process.

Additionally, to ensure fans have a smoother experience, Rugby Organizers will provide announcements in both French and English regarding public transport, ensuring fans disembark at the correct stop. This is crucial because there are separate stops for the north and south stands of Stade Vélodrome. Entry points and gate entry times will also be directly communicated to ticket-holders to minimize confusion.

Furthermore, the stadium plaza will open three hours prior to kickoff, encouraging fans to gather there for pre-match refreshments. A second ticket check will open two hours before the match, and fans are encouraged to arrive early to avoid any delays.

Traditionally, many sports fans arriving in Marseille congregate at the numerous bars and restaurants around the old port area before making their way to the stadium, which is approximately a five-kilometer (three-mile) walk.

Considering the recent heatwave in France, with temperatures soaring to around 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), the organizers also plan to address the issue of inadequate air conditioning on RER trains. This concern was particularly evident during the tournament’s opening game between France and New Zealand, as well as the match between Australia and Georgia on Saturday.

The safety and security aspect will not be overlooked, as France has faced scrutiny following a security incident at Stade de France. This event drew global attention to concerns about heavy-handed policing at large events and raised questions about France’s ability to manage security effectively during such occasions, especially in the lead-up to the Paris Olympics next year.

Mark Z

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