Leinster ‘still some way short of offering full houses in a safe environment’

Without matchday revenue and season tickets province taking large financial hit

Leinster chief executive Mick Dawson has said the province are “still some way short of offering full houses”. Photograph: Inpho

Leinster chief executive Mick Dawson has said the province are “still some way short of offering full houses”. Photograph: Inpho

 

Leinster chief executive Mick Dawson has said the province are “still some way short of offering full houses in a safe environment for our supporters and staff”.

On Monday Leinster revealed a new ‘Official Membership’ scheme for next season, allowing them to distribute tickets when supporters can attend games. Last month they announced they were cancelling season tickets for the 2020/21 campaign because of the expected impact of Covid-19 social distancing restrictions on capacity.

The new scheme however “will offer priority access to tickets for any games that are played in front of supporters during next season”. The membership will cost €120 and credit from the 2019/20 season can be put towards it.

Dawson outlined the significant contribution that this offering will make towards the future of the province:

“Last Friday’s announcement by the Government was another hugely positive step in the right direction and hopefully that continues in the coming weeks and months but the reality is that we are still some way short of offering full houses in a safe environment for our supporters and staff.

“Without match day revenue and season ticket sales, the club is taking a significant financial hit so this offering will allow us to offset some of that loss.

“We have worked closely with the OLSC on this, and with season ticket holders through the online survey last week and the official membership gives us what we believe to be a fair and equitable way of distributing what tickets do come available next season for each game to our season ticket holders.

“This won’t suit all and we are very conscious that some supporters for a variety of reasons may wish to sit this one out, and if that’s the case, we would like to assure them that their seat is secure for another year, that they don’t need to do anything but we look forward to seeing them hopefully back at the RDS Arena for the 2021/22 season.”

The IRFU are expected to lobby Government to reduce physical distancing from two to one metre, which would dramatically increase the number of supporters in stadiums. New Zealand Rugby (NZR) said on Monday fans will be allowed into stadiums to watch the opening weekend of its domestic rugby union competition after the country lifted virtually all coronavirus restrictions.

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen added: “Some of the best moments of my time as a player and over the last few seasons as a coach have been made by our supporters. That ‘sea of blue’ as we’ve driven in to the RDS or the Aviva and obviously the sights that greeted us in Bilbao, Newcastle and Glasgow. We understand now more than ever that they are special days.

“All our efforts will now be invested in representing the club and the supporters and hopefully finishing out the season on the field as best we can. We all look forward to running out in front of a packed RDS some day again, but for now we’ll continue to play our part and continue to adhere to the guidelines around social distancing.”

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