Exeter Chiefs forced to abandon plans for return of supporters at Sandy Park

Exeter Chiefs

Exeter Chiefs - Credit: Archant

Plans to welcome a number of supporters back into Sandy Park for next week’s Gallagher Premiership clash between Exeter Chiefs and London Irish on Wednesday, September 30 have had to be shelved, writes Mark Stevens.

The fixture was due to part of a series of pilot events that had received approval from the Government, Premiership Rugby and the local Safety Advisory Group to allow the safe return of spectators, adhering to social distancing measures.

Sadly, those plans have had to be put on hold as supporters will no longer be allowed to be admitted to this match following direction from the Government issued on Tuesday.

The announcement is a huge blow, not only all of us here at Exeter Rugby Club, but to the 1,000 supporters who had so generously donated the remainder of their 2019/20 Season Ticket back to the club, and who we were excited to welcome back into Sandy Park next week.

Exeter Rugby Club chairman and chief executive, Tony Rowe OBE, said: “As a club we are extremely disappointed to announce that following Government advice, we are unable to welcome our loyal supporters back into Sandy Park next week.

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“A huge amount of effort has been put in by our limited staff during the past week to get everything in place for the safe and secure return of supporters back inside Sandy Park.

“Of course, public safety has to be our top priority and we are hopeful that these restrictions are not kept in place for too long.

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“As I’ve said before, our supporters are the very lifeblood of this club and the need to get them back inside the stadium is crucial to our long-term survival.

“Moving forward, we will continue to adhere to all the relevant guidelines and keep all of you updated as to where we are in terms of getting supporters back watching fixture.

“We thank all of you for your co-operation and patience at this difficult time - and we will do everything we can to make sure that we can all return to Sandy Park safely once again in the future.”

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