Back in May of last year we blogged about the rather dumb decision to serve beer only in cans at some rugby world cup stadia (including Eden Park) despite submissions from the police that cans could be used as missiles. To have installed beer lines and provide plastic cups in the multi-million dollar venues would’ve been too costly:
Beer to be sold in cans despite opposition from police.
“Be sure to pack a hard hat and body armour if you’re attending any matches in New Zealand. If you’re playing on the pitch you’d better learn to duck:
“Police pushed for beer to be served in plastic cups to minimise the risk of them being used as missiles by intoxicated fans, but it is understood there was also opposition to that from principal sponsor, Heineken…
“arranging tap beer facilities would have been costly for 9 of the 13 stadia which didn’t already have such facilities.” source
Score so far: Sponsors 1, Police 0.
However, police objections were put aside and fans were going to be trusted to behave. This quote appeared on UAFC.co.uk in May:
“RWC fans trusted to behave with beer cans
Rugby World Cup organisers have settled on a deal to allow beer to be served in cans at matches during the tournament, despite initial opposition from police and Police Minister Judith Collins.
Police pushed for beer to be served in plastic cups to minimise the risk of them being used as missiles by intoxicated fans, but it is understood there was also opposition to that from principal sponsor, Heineken.
Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully told Radio New Zealand the stakeholders in next year’s tournament had discussed the issue of how to serve beer, and tried to “steer a middle course” while allowing for cans to be served.
The way forward was to put some trust in people who would be paying a lot of money for tickets, and give police the capacity to deal with the minority who may step out of line.
Mr McCully said arranging tap beer facilities would have been costly for nine of the 13 stadia which didn’t already have such facilities.
He was confident fans would want to make the most of a unique experience in attending rugby World Cup matches and not risk being thrown out because of intoxicated behaviour.
If fans did step out of line, police would have enhanced capability to deal with them, he said.
Ms Collins said she had considered the proposal to allow the sale of beer in cans and was now comfortable with the arrangement.”
Readers may remember a few months later drunken fans marred Eden Park‘s Four Nations match, with a hail of beer bottles that hit people on the pitch and in the stands:
“Eden Park November 6th. New Zealand V Australia. Unfortunately when the convicts took a convincing lead half way through the second half, the crowd went feral, chucking bottles and everything onto lower bays and the field. This was about the fourth time around, so most of the f-wits had exhausted their supply of missiles, but as you can see, they were still throwing quite a lot of stuff. It was like being at a Canterbury Bulldogs match.”
The Alcohol Liquor Advisory Council has now voiced its concerns about the sale of beer in cans during the rugby world cup and say that staff under pressure to serve drinks quickly may have problems depressurizing cans before selling them. What’s worse, the licensing authority has made a difficult task almost impossible by approving a four beer policy per serve. This appeared in today’s Sunday Star Times :
Eden Park’s $320 million makeover for the Rugby World Cup failed to create the “infrastructure” needed to serve beer in plastic cups, forcing the controversial sale of cans during the tournament.
And according to one of the ground’s official caterers, the time taken to open all beer cans to stop them being used as missiles will “negatively impact the experience” for fans.
The statements are made in documents obtained by the Sunday Star-Times, a week after the paper reported another caterer had stated in its liquor licence application that it would reduce the “high” risk of injury to fans from flying cans by ensuring staff opened the vessels before giving them to customers.
Heineken have official beer rights at world cup venues but as the brewer does not produce beverages in plastic bottles, only canned beer will be sold…” more here
We’ll be watching to see how fans behave themselves at matches and what happens with all those cans.