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Maximum of 5,000 people allowed at live sporting events under new Covid restrictions

Munster have confirmed that tickets sold on general sale for their St Stephen’s Day game against Leinster will now be declared void.

A general view of the Aviva Stadium.
A general view of the Aviva Stadium.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

A MAXIMUM OF 5,000 spectators will be permitted at live sporting events under new Covid-19 restrictions announced this evening.

The measures will come into effect from midnight on Sunday and will remain in place until 30 January, Taoiseach Micheál Martin confirmed in a televised speech.

The news comes following the latest coronavirus wave that has led to a surge in Covid-19 cases.

Outdoor sporting events will be restricted to a maximum of 50% of venue capacity or 5,000 spectators, whichever is lower.

Indoor sporting events will be limited to a maximum of 50% of venue capacity, or 1,000 spectators, whichever is lower, while no indoor events will be allowed after 8pm. 

With the measures not coming into effect until midnight on Sunday, tomorrow evening’s Heineken Champions Cup clash between Munster and Castres will not be impacted.

Over 20,000 tickets have been sold for the match, with Thomond Park set to welcome its biggest crowd since December 2019. 

However the new restrictions will have an impact across the festive sporting calendar, with the St Stephen’s Day interprovincial clash between Munster and Leinster already a sell-out.

Following this evening’s announcement, Munster have confirmed that tickets sold on general sale for the upcoming games against Leinster (26 December), Ulster (8 January) and Wasps (23 January) will be declared void with refunds issued to patrons.

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The province are working to facilitate season ticket holders and 10-year-ticket holders as a priority for those fixtures, and the Munster ticket office will make direct contact with those supporters with further details on ticket allocations in due course.

Meanwhile Connacht Rugby have asked supporters to “bear with us” as they work through the detail of the latest announcement. Connacht are due to host Munster at the Sportsground on 1 January in the first of a series of home fixtures next month.

The Christmas programme of national hunt racing around the country will also be subject to the new restrictions, as will the National Basketball Cup semi-finals weekend in Cork from 7-9 January.

Updated at 8.21pm with additional reporting from Ciarán Kennedy.

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Paul Fennessy

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