Rugby World Cup fans ‘have water bottles confiscated for being the wrong brand’

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Rugby World Cup fans are having water bottles confiscated by stadium security staff despite receiving assurances from organisers that they would be allowed to take them into venues. Reports suggest match-going supporters have been prohibited from taking in water bottles due to the brand of the bottle, rather than the size of it, which has caused another issue for those attending games in France.

World Rugby have been forced to investigate several failures by tournament organisers and stadium security already after crowding issues, a lack of water supply and ticket problems. The latest bizarre measure taken by security appears to be that fans have had their water bottles that do not feature tournament sponsor Volvic taken away.

The Daily Mail reported that media and fans attending matches have had water ‘confiscated’ as they queued to gain entry. The report adds that ‘many believe’ if their water is not bottled by tournament sponsor Volvic, it will not be allowed into the stadium.

It is unclear whether this relates to a separate incident, or whether it is an ongoing issue for fans at more than one stadium. Water supplier Volvic were announced as the tournament’s ‘official supporter’ back in February, with a video featuring France player and its brand ambassador Antoine Dupont.

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France 2023 CEO Julien Collette said: “France 2023 is proud to be associated with Volvic, whose mineral water comes from a protected natural environment in the heart of the Auvergne. France 2023 and Volvic share common values and ambitions in building a sustainable and responsible event.”

Organisers have previously insisted fans can take in their own water after a backlash followed when fans were left thirsty without water due to soaring temperatures, having had their bottles taken away. They insist that bottles must be 500ml and under with bottle caps removed.

However, the apparent banning of specific water bottles will again cast a shadow on the organisation and strong-handed security measures in place at French stadia.

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Earlier in the tournament, World Rugby issued edicts barring fans bringing food and drink to any stadium – meaning England fans were forced to buy water inside the stadium after stewards took away ones they had brought with them.

In one match between Ireland and Romania, the stadium ran out of water bottles to supply due to soaring 35C temperatures. This was due to fans purchasing more than one bottle each, having not been permitted to bring them into the stadium, according to fans that attended the game in Bordeaux.

“Instead of setting up mobile water stands they meticulously waited for each person to ask to purchase water and then opened them and removed the caps one by one,” one fan, Oonagh O’Mahoney, told the Irish Independent. “Given most people were buying three or four bottles of water it was a joke.”

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