‘Gates open at 11.30am… get in early!’ – that’s the message coming from Principality Stadium ahead of Wales’ Under Armour Series second round clash with Georgia on Saturday (18th November).
The first game of the series, against Australia last weekend, was also the first rugby match played at Wales’ national ground under newly enhanced security measures, brought in in April 2017.
The stadium has been operating a strict search policy for all visitors since that time and it has successfully hosted a string of major events – from the UEFA Champions League Final, World Heavyweight Title boxing (Joshua v Takam), back-to-back Coldplay concerts, Justin Bieber, Robbie Williams and the British Speedway Grand Prix – with hundreds of thousands of fans passing through turnstiles.
But, with rugby the staple diet at Principality Stadium, the first UA Series match brought new challenges as fans arrived at the ground en masse within 45 minutes of kick-off as they have been are used to doing for rugby matches in the past.
“To allow for the increased security checks, we have doubled the amount of time that the stadium is open prior to kick-off from 90 minutes to three hours and broadcast this message as widely as possible,”
Principality Stadium manager Mark Williams.
“Despite these efforts, only 10% of ticket holders arrived at the stadium in the first hour-and-a-half of opening last weekend.
“As such, regrettably, the surge in arrivals later than we had advised slowed entry to the stadium, meaning some attendees missed the kick-off.”
Williams, who has run Principality Stadium – which is owned and operated by the Welsh Rugby Union – since September 2013 is determined to ensure supporters this weekend learn quickly from the experience.
Once again there will be additional entertainment around the concourses from the time of gates opening (11.30am) and early bird deals on food and beverages, for those supporters who get in early.
“One of the key things for fans to understand is that if you arrive early, the likelihood is that you will get in quicker and, conversely, the later you leave it the longer you may be in a queue and the greater the risk of you missing kick-off,”
said the former lieutenant colonel in The Royal Welsh.
“Enhanced security has been in place at all events at Principality Stadium since April 2017. The sole intent is enhanced safety and security for fans attending the stadium, taking into account the current security climate and more specifically UK terror threat levels.”
Personal searches form only part of the comprehensive measures in place at the stadium, together with safety officers and South Wales Police, all entry points are continually monitored throughout the day.
South Wales Police stress there is no specific threat to Cardiff. Principality Stadium routinely works very closely with the Police and the Wales Extremism and Counter Terrorism Unit to deliver appropriate security measures for all major events.
Key messages ahead of Wales v Georgia:
– Gates open at 11.30am
– Roads close from 11.00am
– The earlier you arrive the quicker you will get in/the later you arrive the longer it will take and the greater the risk of you missing kick-off
– Principality Stadium Gates are open three hours early, instead of 90 minutes early, because of the extra security measures. Please plan your trip to the stadium accordingly
– Check your tickets and Gate details, remember access to the stadium is 360 degrees, not all gates face the city centre and some take longer to walk to than others
“We strongly urge fans to assist us in maintaining a safe and secure stadium by getting in early and leaving large bags and umbrellas at home to avoid unnecessary delays and disappointment.”
To assist with match-day planning, Cardiff Council and local travel providers have published the necessary information for supporters to arrange travel plans to and from the venue in advance.