Lions v Japan: BT Murrayfield bars shut early after ‘unprecedented’ pre-game sales

Fans who flocked to Murrayfield to see their first live rugby game since lockdown ordered so many pre-game pints, the bars had to close early.

Boos rang round the stadium when it was announced that the facilities would not re-open at the half-time break in the game between the British and Irish Lions and Japan.

That sparked a flurry of criticism on social media - including comments from Andy Nicol, former Scotland rugby captain - but Scottish Rugby said the closure decision was down to “unprecedented pre-match sales.”

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The move was also made to ensure social distancing could be adhered to as 16,500 fans got to see a rugby international live for the first time since lockdown began in March 2020.

But it did not go down well with fans inside the 67,000 capacity stadium in Edinburgh.

Former skipper, Andy Nicol, tweeted: “So Murrayfield has run out of beer for the @lionsofficial match!! Are you kidding me??

“Queues were awful before the game and now they have run out of beer! #amateurhour #Lions”

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Fans arrive at Murrayfield for the first time since March 2020. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

Shortly after he added a second tweet which said: “A stadium that normally caters for 67,000 can’t deliver a match day experience for 16,500!!

"What a joke! Shame for fans paying huge amount and for staff having to deal with disgruntled fans.”

Some highlighted they’d paid up to £130 for a ticket and criticised the long delays to get served.

Others spoke of a “chorus of boos” around the stadium as it was announced over the PA system that the bars would be closed at half-time.

The SRU rejected claims the venue had run out of beer.

In a statement after the 28-10 Lions’ victory, they said: “Due to unprecedented pre-match sales, the decision was taken to not open bars at half-time, given the limited availability of stock around the stadium.

This was to ensure pre-agreed social distancing guidelines could be maintained and avoid crowding. As per the match agreement, bars were scheduled to be closed from the end of half-time.”

The statement added: “The stadium did not run out of beer and all decisions were taken with crowd safety and social distancing in mind.

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