Rugby-Nearly 10,000 Premiership final tickets cancelled as capacity is reduced

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(Reuters) - Nearly 10,000 supporters have had their tickets for next week's Premiership Rugby final at Twickekham Stadium cancelled because the British government rejected an application for the match to be a pilot test event, British media reported.

Premiership Rugby had expected to welcome a crowd of around 20,000 for the June 26 final at Twickenham, which has a capacity of 82,000, but will now be able to have only 10,000 supporters due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Wembley Stadium is set to host two round-of-16 matches of the European soccer Championship with the second one, on June 29, having a 50% capacity - 45,000 fans.

Organisers of the Wimbledon tennis championships have said the men's and women's singles finals this year will be played with full crowds of 15,000 in attendance on Centre Court.

"We could have welcomed 20,000 socially-distanced supporters safely to Twickenham for an unforgettable day out to watch the crowning of the champions of England," Premiership Rugby chief commercial officer Mark Brittain told the BBC.

"We have seen that snatched away from us. For the fans, all the people who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes and most importantly, the clubs and players, this is a huge blow.

"We have continued to push, but along with many other sporting and non-sporting events we have been let down. Regardless of this setback we are committed to providing a fantastic final to those lucky enough to attend."

Reports say that Premiership Rugby is working with England's Rugby Football Union to refund ticket holders.

Bristol Bears face Harlequins and Exeter Chiefs take on Sale Sharks in the semi-finals later on Saturday.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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