The Rugby Football Union will not close bars at Twickenham during England Tests despite disgruntled supporters growing tired of the streams of fans repeatedly getting up from their seats while matches are being played, because sales between kick-off and the full-time whistle account for a mammoth 40 per cent of their match-day intake.
Despite opening bars three hours before kick-off and keeping them open at the stadium for 90 minutes after matches have finished, RFU chief executive Steve Brown revealed on Tuesday that nearly half of bar sales come in a period while the match is being played, despite the 80-minute fixture falling into a window that is normally two hours or shorter.
The result is that the RFU rake in hundreds of thousands of pounds from each of the six or seven Tests that Twickenham holds each year, and while authorities in Cardiff have spoken out about the drinking culture surrounding rugby matches at the Principality Stadium in the wake of the autumn internationals, Brown has no plans to change opening hours on match days.
“I will give you a fact on that,” Brown explained. “From a consumption-volume point of view that is something you would think about. But about 40 per cent of our bar takings come during the match, including half-time. That would be a substantial drop in revenue if we were to cut that for the six or seven games we have here.”
England fans enjoying themselves at Twickenham (Getty)
Supporters at Twickenham have complained about others standing up during matches to go to the bar or toilet, which causes them in turn to stand up to let them out of their row and temporarily block their vision of the action.
The situation in Cardiff appears to be much more severe though, and as The Independent reported last week, fans inside the Principality Stadium claimed to witness a steward being assaulted after they were confronted by an allegedly drunk supporter.
Brown stressed that in his experience, it is not a problem that Twickenham has to deal with, having gone somewhat undercover for England’s victory over Samoa two weekends ago to spend the day as a fan in “the twilight zone”, as one steward labelled the chief executive’s £40 seat in the middle tier of the stadium.
“I have personally not experienced that,” Brown added. “The [Principality Stadium] location is interesting. I don’t know if being in the centre of town is a factor. We assessed that in the  World Cup because we had…