Blues confirm fan lockout in the event of domestic competition
The Blues have confirmed that fans will not be able to attend games if New Zealand teams end up taking part in a domestic tournament during the Super Rugby suspension.
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The Auckland-based franchise’s CEO Andrew Hore has confirmed that fans will be locked out of grounds even if New Zealand Rugby go ahead with plans to stage a 10-12 week competition among Kiwi teams.
Sanzaar announced the indefinite suspension of the Super Rugby season following the completion of Round 7’s matches last weekend.
This followed the New Zealand government issuing a directive forcing incoming travellers to self-isolate for 14 days due to coronavirus fears.
New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson said on Tuesday his organisation will attempt to stage local derbies between his country’s five franchises within the next two weeks. Australia and South Africa are considering similar arrangements.
Hore confirmed plans for the fans' lock out at matches in an open letter on the Blues' official website.
"The players and management of the Blues want to thank you for your understanding and kind messages in these challenging and unprecedented times for us all," he said.
"Likewise we feel very much for our community and implore you all to focus on your health and wellbeing.
"The team has had their bye week this week and plan to return to training next Monday. As you may be aware, New Zealand, along with Sanzaar and all the Super Rugby clubs, are working hard on a return to play. This will centre on three domestic competitions in New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. We hope to announce details of this next week and a likely starting date.
"In saying this, any return to play will still come under the restriction around 'Activities and Mass Gatherings' - which will mean sadly no fans will be able to attend games."
This will naturally be challenging for both fans and players but games will be shown live on Sky Sport and also on Prime.
"There will be an extremely tight protocol within the teams around health and wellbeing - any potential positive report of Covid-19 could spell an end to the competition. It will mean that the players and staff will need to restrict themselves to the training environment and their homes and families.
"Unfortunately this will mean that we cannot allow for sponsor and fan engagements until further notice. This fits with government directions on social distancing policy.
"We find ourselves in unprecedented and unreal times. First and foremost is for our Blues family to heed all of the advice to keep yourselves and your families healthy and well.
"This will be a moment in time and we will get through this together. And we look forward to doing what we do best and doing it in front of our fans again... soon. Take care."
- TEAMtalk media