Suncorp Stadium officials have released an apology to NRL fans who were delayed in getting inside the ground for the preliminary final between the Melbourne Storm and Canberra Raiders after a technical glitch at the gates on Friday night.
In a scene that would make those in Australian states rocked by COVID-19 cringe, thousands of NRL fans were seen squeezed together outside the gates of Suncorp Stadium and in very close proximity as they entered the venue to find their seats, with a ticketing system issue blamed for the debacle.
It left several fans missing the opening minutes of the blockbuster clash that could well have been Cameron Smith’s final NRL game in Brisbane.
“Suncorp Stadium apologises sincerely to our patrons for the failure of the stadium’s ticketing system due to a national outage which created delays on entry to tonight’s NRL Preliminary Final,” a statement released last night read.
“The stadium worked to ensure that we had everyone in within 7-8 minutes after kickoff.
“This situation has never occurred in 17 years of the stadium’s operation. We are working with our ticketing agent to identify the cause of the issue and to put measures in place to ensure this situation does not occur again.”
Several fans and members of the media took to social media to record the scene inside and outside of the stadium.
The images released from outside of the stadium clearly showed little social distancing between fans, and just inside the gates, a large number of people were seen flooding through the concourse at the same time to finally find their seats after the delay.
“It was an absolute nightmare last night at Suncorp Stadium,” Today reporter Natarjsha Kramer said outside the ground on Saturday morning.
“Tens of thousands of fans were locked out due to a Ticketek glitch which was only scanning paper tickets.
“Kick-off was delayed to try and rectify the problem, but when the venue couldn’t they instead ushered everyone through the gates without even checking tickets or bags.
“That’s where many took to social media, disgusted at the lack of social distancing and the violation of the rules that were set by the Queensland government to ensure that the capacity here last night could be increased to 39,000.”
Ticketek released a statement late on Friday night also apologising for the issue.