England rugby fans in stadium queue chaos as French authorities under fire again

England rugby fans were left stranded outside the stadium before their World Cup opener against Argentina as French authorities came under fire again for their poor organisation and preparation. Hundreds of fans were seen gathered by the entrance of the Stade Velodrome in Marseille close to kick-off and they were left frustrated in their attempts to gain entry, raising further doubts about the suitability of hosting high-profile sporting events in France.

Supporters complained about being left in huge crowds outside the entrance despite arriving at the stadium over an hour before the match was due to get underway.

Fans were seen queueing to get inside the stadium long after kick-off, with ticketholders allowed inside without their seat numbers being properly checked, according to some local reports.

This meant that some fans were forced to watch from the concrete steps due to overcrowding issues. Katherine, the Princess of Wales, was not affected as she took up her seat in time for kick-off.

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The Evening Standard reported that some supporters who had arrived with plenty of time to spare were not able to gain entry until 15 minutes into the game, raising further doubts about the French authorities’ handling of congestion issues.

Empty seats were easily visible inside the stadium as the England and Argentina teams came out for their warm-ups and it is not the first time the issue has dogged tournament organisers this week.

Similar congestion issues occurred at the opening match in France’s victory over New Zealand in Paris on Friday night. There were also problems for Irish fans trying to gain entry for their match with Romania in Bordeaux earlier on Saturday.

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Those who were late to the England match would have missed the early red card shown to Tom Curry, who was dismissed after just 120 seconds for a horrific challenge.

But England were undeterred in their mission to get off to a winning start in France and went on to record a 27-10 victory, with George Ford’s kicking responsible for the entirety of their points on the night.

“We’re a closeknit team and all credit must go to the boys up front, they were incredible,” Ford said. “We have had a rocky build up, we’ve had to deal with a lot. But it’s only the first game.”

Even if it was a night to celebrate on the pitch, the issues in the stands and outside the ground will leave many with a bitter taste after spending time and money to make the trip, only to met with entry issues when they arrived.

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