Rugby Union

'Unacceptable Behaviour' At Army-Navy Clash Could See Fixture Moved From Twickenham

Richmond Council leader warned the fixture could be moved as fans see the game "primarily as a drunken, al fresco fancy dress party".

"Unacceptable behaviour" by fans attending the Army vs Navy rugby match could see the fixture being moved from Twickenham, according to Richmond Council. 

The council said that, because of a number of incidents, they are going to suggest to the Rugby Football Union (RFU) that the fixture is rotated at other stadiums around the country. 

According to the council, local residents expressed their "outrage" after witnessing drunken behaviour, urination in gardens, fans passing out in the streets and also attempted theft.

One incident even resulted in a woman being hospitalised after she was struck by a bottle thrown by fans, the council said. 

The Army lifted the Inter Services title after beating the Navy 27-11 (Picture: ArmyvNavy Rugby).
The Army lifted the Inter Services title after beating the Navy 27-11 (Picture: ArmyvNavy Rugby).

80,000 people watched the game at a sold-out Twickenham last Saturday as the Army beat the Navy 27-11 to lift the Inter-Services title

Richmond Council leader, Councillor Gareth Roberts, said the earlier kick-off time of 14:00 BST saw "no noticeable improvement in behaviour" with fans seeing the match "primarily as a drunken, al fresco fancy dress party". 

He called on the RFU and the Armed Forces to consider whether they want to allow the fixture to continue.

Councillor Roberts said if the fixture is to remain, it should be rotated at other stadiums, confirming that they 'will be putting that case to the RFU'. 

Army Navy
Councillor Gareth Roberts called on the RFU and the Armed Forces to consider whether they want to allow the fixture to continue.

He added the council have requested an "urgent meeting" with RFU officials and organisers to seek assurances that residents will not experience another day of "drunken, loutish behaviour which brings the RFU and our armed services personnel into disrepute". 

The council leader said if the assurances are "not satisfactorily forthcoming", then it is time the "fixture is moved out of our borough".

An RFU spokesperson told Forces News: "We took significant steps to improve this event including reduced licensing hours, earlier kick off and bar closures plus no games before the main match.

"While there have been some complaints received, behaviour at this year’s match was better than previous years.

"We will have a full debrief of this event with the police and the council as we do every year and will look at every complaint individually."