Exeter Chiefs boss baffled by capped Twickenham crowd decision

Exeter Chiefs’ Director of Rugby has questioned the decision to cut crowd numbers for the Premiership Final.

The match between Chiefs and Harlequins is due to take place this weekend at Twickenham, with a capacity of 82,000.

Organisers had planned for 20,000 socially-distanced fans to be able to attend - if Government restrictions were eased as planned on June 21.

But following a delay to lockdown lifting, up to 10,000 tickets have had to be refunded after Premiership Rugby’s request for pilot test event status was declined.

Twickenham Stadium was recently used as a drop-in vaccination centre.

Chiefs’ boss Rob Baxter said it was frustrating for the fans.

"I don't think anyone involved in rugby isn't shaking their head a bit when they see the crowd numbers that are going to be happening at other sporting events both now and very quickly,” he said.

"Pretty much every other sport seems to have some event going on where in big stadiums they've got a lot more than 10,000 people.

Other sports this summer - including Wimbledon and the British Grand Prix - have been permitted to host crowds over 10,000.

Euro 2020 matches at Wembley Stadium, meanwhile, have welcomed more than 20,000 fans for recent group matches - and will host 60,000 for the final.

A spokesperson for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: "We are continuing to test a range of events with bigger capacities as part of the Government's Events Research Programme in order to get all fans back in safely, and have provided unprecedented help to sports needing support without spectators including £133.5 million to rugby union."

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