IRB Sevens World Series
Drunkeness and arrests blight Wellington Sevens
February 10, 2014
Fans may have celebrated too hard at the Wellington Sevens with several ejections through the two-day event © Getty Images
The chief executive of the Wellington Sevens has said the event must get the balance right between on-field action and entertainment off it. Local police said there were too many drunk people at the two-day event, with a number of spectators being treated at Wellington Hospital's emergency department.
Chief executive Marty Donoghue said organisers will be undertaking a review of the event, which was standard practice, and will consult police, stadium officials and health promotion agencies about the weekend's activities.
Donoghue said the Sevens' alcohol management had been developed with police and took four months to establish. "On Friday night we realised there were some areas we needed to improve in and we refined it for Saturday," he said, adding there would be changes to the tournament "to reflect that Olympic flavour" in the lead up to 2016 Olympics.
Police arrested 20 people over the two days, while 270 were removed from the Westpac Stadium. Inspector John Spence said the police alcohol harm prevention unit would collate evidence from the event and decide if further action was required.
Countering other reports, Westpac Stadium chief executive Shane Harmon said the fans this year were the best-behaved crowd to date, and the higher numbers of ejections and arrests reflected a tougher stance on alcohol.
Rugby fans braved pouring rain and strong winds on both days to see New Zealand take home the winning trophy on Saturday evening. Despite normally selling out, tickets were still available on the day, with some giving away free tickets at the gate.
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