Oval Talk

Rugby fans will NOT be segregated as World Cup ticket sales announced

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The Rugby World Cup starts in England in 500 days, with organisers choosing this date to announce when tickets go on sale.

The 2015 tournament sees 500,000 tickets go on general sale between September 12 and 29 this year.

Organisers celebrated the announcement by projecting the official match ball on to City Hall in London.

They also insisted that, contrary to reports, fans would not be segregated for the first time.

"To be absolutely clear: we have no plans to segregate fans," said England Rugby 2015 CEO Debbie Jevans.

"The beauty of what we're doing is that we don't have to worry about segregation, and there won't be any segregation."

International Rugby Board chief executive Brett Gosper said social media reaction to suggestions of segregation backed up many of the positive aspects of attending international rugby.

"It showed what rugby fans really value about the way rugby crowds are managed," said Gosper. "It was a great bit of advertising for rugby almost.

"I think it was conjecture. There has never been an intention to segregate the crowds. It was never discussed at a serious level.

"We are definitely against that, and everyone will sit together."

Ian Ritchie, the RFU chief executive, backed the plans to stick with one of rugby's oldest traditions.

"It's not a principle that fits with how rugby is perceived, and it is not going to happen," he said.

More than 20,000 people applied for roles as World Cup volunteers, with selection assessments to be staged between June and December.

World Cup bosses want to finalise the 6,000 members of the volunteer group dubbed The Pack in January.

Training centres for all the World Cup teams will be announced in July this year, with qualifications complete by October.

IRB boss Gosper remains confident next year's tournament will eclipse all previous tournaments in terms of revenue

"We believe this is an event that will significantly further the growth of rugby throughout the world," he said.

"We believe that Rugby World Cup 2015 is shaping up to become the record-breaking tournament.

"The hospitality will be the biggest ever for any event in the UK, including London 2012, and we are seeing 146 per cent increases on previous world Cup packages."

Jevans said efforts are being made to curb ticket resales on sharing websites.

"We have never been backward in saying we would like legislation against secondary ticket sale sites," she said.

"We are limiting the number of tickets individuals can buy, and we will only be sending out tickets three weeks to a month before the event.

"It's our ambition that tickets go to genuine fans, and we'll do everything we can to ensure that happens."

PA Sport

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