The organiser of the Rugby World Cup has confirmed that up to 100 fans “experienced difficulties” getting into Ireland’s match against South Africa in Paris last weekend and admitted it did not yet know what was behind the problems.
Earlier this week it emerged that two couples who spent more than €2,000 each with Cassidy Travel on weekend trips to see Ireland play the world champions in the crunch pool game were not allowed through the turnstiles in the Stade de France, with one being told their tickets were invalid as they had already been scanned.
Other fans subsequently contacted The Irish Times to detail their difficulties gaining admission.
One said he bought tickets off the official Rugby World Cup site for himself and his son, and while one ticket scanned, the other was blocked. They only got in after a long and tense delay and following the intervention of a supervisor.
Another reader had a similar experience and said most officials “were just not interested” in his plight.
“We persisted and eventually we were given two new tickets, some others did the same and got them but of course we had to wait for an hour and missed the first half,” he said.
World Cup 2023 spokesman Emmanuel Bouscasse said he was “sorry to hear that a small number of fans may have experienced difficulties accessing the stadium with their tickets and [we] are looking into this matter”.
He suggested that initial reports “indicate this concerns less than a hundred ticket holders out of the 80,000 that were present Saturday at the Stade de France”.
He added that there are dedicated ticketing staff “at every gate of our host stadiums to facilitate any issues fans may have with their tickets. When a solution cannot be found at the gate, we then ask fans to present themselves to the dedicated ticket office.”
Those who bought tickets through official travel agents, meanwhile, were told “to reach out to these operators”.
For its part, Cassidy Travel said it was rechecking every ticket it has sold for Ireland’s game against Scotland to avoid a repeat of the issues.
The general manager said it was “investigating the position with [the organisers]” and pointed out that Cassidy Travel was “not the only ones affected by this”.
Addressing the potential for problems at Ireland’s final group game against Scotland, Sharon Harney said Cassidy Travel hase deployed extra staff and enhanced measures to ensure customers get access to the match without delay.
“At an internal meeting this morning steps have been taken to ensure all tickets dispatched for the Scotland game are re-checked – and extra tickets have been purchased to ensure that staff on the ground will have additional tickets in the event a scanning issues arises again,” she said.