Drunk fans 'leave two stewards' injured at England v New Zealand pilot event

·3-min read
Drunk fans leave two stewards injured at England v New Zealand pilot event - GETTY IMAGES
Drunk fans leave two stewards injured at England v New Zealand pilot event - GETTY IMAGES

Two stewards tasked with overseeing the conduct and safety of fans at Edgbaston cricket ground were allegedly injured by spectators during the second day of the Test match between England and New Zealand.

The Test is part of a pilot event meaning that the Birmingham stadium has welcomed back 18,000 cricket fans on each day of the match so far. And while the event has been one conducted largely in celebratory mood, the sunshine and alcohol has made the job of the stewards particularly difficult.

"Two of us have been injured already today," said one steward, whose job has been to oversee spectators in the infamous Eric Hollies stand. "I almost broke my thumb with one of those beer snakes while my colleague had his shoulder done in ejecting a drunk member of the public.

"The rest of the ground is great but this bit isn’t. [The fans] are too drunk and there’s too many of them. And there aren’t enough police. [The fans] are out of control."

Edgbaston confirmed that they were aware of an incident with one steward, though had not received a second report of another injury.

Stuart Cain, Chief Executive of Edgbaston, said: “Players of both teams yesterday recognised the Eric Hollies Stand as one of the best in world cricket. There is a very comprehensive stewarding operation within the stand and strong support from West Midlands Police.

“From today’s capacity crowd of 18,000, only seven ejections took place, which is in-keeping with previous major match days. One steward reported an injured thumb to their supervisor, but rejected the offer of immediate medical treatment.

“Stewards are really well supported throughout the Test match and have a designated welfare team, developed in conjunction with G4S.”

The role of a safety steward at Edgbaston, which is advertised at three pence above minimum wage, is described in the job advertisement as one which is to help “create a safe and fun environment for everyone. You’ll be part of a large collaborative team helping create amazing experiences for all types of people”.

The last time England men’s Test team played in front of a home crowd of this size was almost two years ago, when the Ashes series culminated before a full house at The Oval. Last week the first Test unfolded in front of around six thousand spectators at Lord’s, which hosted a 25 per cent capacity crowd in line with government regulations.

However, unlike the Lord’s Test, the Edgbaston pilot event means that spectators, who need to present a negative NHS lateral flow test on arrival, do not need to be socially distanced nor wear face masks while watching from the stands. Further, all ticket-holders must be aged 16 or over, in contrast to Lord’s, which prioritised junior tickets in order to encourage a younger crowd during the school holidays.

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