The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has issued an apology after a six-year-old boy watching his first Wales match at Cardiff's Principality Stadium was vomited on by a drunk fan. Joey Delaney was watching Wales beat Australia on Saturday when a man sat in the row behind him suddenly threw up sending vomit "everywhere", leaving him distraught.
A WRU spokesperson has said they would like to apologise and will be in touch with Joey's mother to find out more about what happened.
"We are very sorry to hear about the family’s experience and would like to apologise to the Delaneys...
"We will review the steward's report on this incident and will be in touch with Mrs Delaney to further understand what happened."
Joey's mum Sophie said the man was so drunk he could barely sit up and he couldn't even speak speak to apologise."Joey was unbelievably excited to watch his first Wales match for his first time in the stadium," Sophie said about her son.
"However his experience was nearly ruined by the guy sat behind us who was so drunk he vomited all down the back of our son, all over the floor behind us, and all down the back of my coat."My son’s coat, Wales hat, scarf, and seat were covered in this man's sick. The amount of vomit was unbelievable and the guy was slumped over his seat. He couldn't even talk or hardly open his eyes."
Their tickets were a surprise present from family for husband Andrew's 40th birthday."Joey was super-excited," Sophie said. "From getting the train to Cardiff, going for food, and seeing his face walking up those steps. He was completely in awe of the music, the build-up, the national anthem, everything."
Andrew is a massive rugby fan himself and has happy memories of watching his first rugby match with his own father.
Saturday's match was a special moment for him to do the same with his own son, Sophie said.The family were "living in the moment" of the nail-biting match until Sophie glanced up from sending pictures to their family to see her son in "absolute floods of tears"."There was sick everywhere," she explained. "There was just so much. Joey was so upset and shocked – he cried so much. I had to stop myself from crying from seeing my son so upset and from the absolute shock of it all."
Sophie and Andrew did their best to clean the sick off and were heartened by fellow fans who were quick to offer their help, passing down antibacterial gel and even offering up their own hats and scarves to console the youngster. A friend of the drunk man took him off to get cleaned up too.Sophie said: "He said: 'I've sorted him out' but I said: 'No way, you're not sitting anywhere near my child'."Joey wanted to leave but after the best clean-up operation they could muster they managed to stay and watch the final 10 minutes.Sophie asked a steward if they could move to new seats and was thankful they said yes and even showed them to their clean chairs. But she is disappointed that it had to come to that at all and says people should be more responsible when watching the rugby."We absolutely understand that people enjoy a drink during the match with the majority acting ‘merry’ but being that drunk and posing such a risk to others, most importantly children, is not acceptable," she said."Everyone else that we encountered throughout the day – the police lady outside who saw how excited he was and was chatting to him, the guy that let us through the barrier to make sure we got Joey on the train home, the guy that made sure he got a seat on the train, the people on the train and coming out of the station making sure that Joey got through the crowds safely – 98% of people throughout the day were so amazing at making sure our son felt safe and enjoyed the experience."Their ordeal wasn't over until they got home, said Sophie, who was very conscious of the drying sick splashes on their clothes. She is glad that Joey focused on all the positives of the day and "didn’t let that idiot ruin his experience"."You do just think: 'How drunk were you when you got here?'" she added. "How did he get in that state? People like that shouldn’t have the power to taint Joey's positive and happy spirit."She thinks more should be done by stewards in the stadium and people should think about how much they're drinking. She added: "Hopefully something this vile never happens to anyone again by people not being allowed to enter or being removed from the stadium when being so intoxicated."They are not watching the game or supporting the team when behaving like that."
The WRU says the vast majority of fans have enjoyed themselves in a responsible and considerate way over the Autumn Nations Series, which saw more than 275,000 fans at the Principality Stadium.
A spokesperson said they will be reviewing the steward's report from the incident: "It is policy for our staff to intervene if people are visibly intoxicated - this happens in three main areas: the turnstiles where people can be denied entry, at the point of sale if they try and buy alcohol and in the stadium bowl."