TOKYO -- 2019 Rugby World Cup organizers did a U-turn on Sept. 23 and began allowing fans to bring their own food into venues, after multiple food options ran out in some stadiums.
The Rugby World Cup 2019 Organising Committee had initially prohibited spectators from bringing in their own food in a bid to protect the rights of sponsors and vendors. In an unusual move for a major global sporting event, the committee introduced the sudden policy change while the tournament is ongoing.
According to the committee and other sources, people formed long lines at food stands at Tokyo Stadium (Ajinomoto Stadium) during the opener between Japan and Russia on Sept. 20 and food items sold out one after another.
Spectators did not even have the option to dine outside the venue as they are banned from re-entering, which sparked criticism.
On Sept. 22, food items, including sandwiches, ran out at Sapporo Dome, a venue in Japan's northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido. A 25-year-old housewife visiting from Kyoto Prefecture, western Japan, who said she is five-months pregnant tried to buy food during halftime but had to give up. "I'm so hungry and low in energy. They (organizers) could have planned it better," she stated, apparently in exhaustion.
In response to the situation, the committee announced on Sept. 23 that from now on spectators are allowed to bring individual portions of food into venues.
Fans are still banned from taking their own drinks into stadiums in principle. Though people can bring their own water bottles for medical and health purposes, they will need to take a sip of the contents in front of staff before being allowed to take the drinks inside.
A representative of the committee said, "Our prediction might have been too optimistic. Please use drinking water fountains at the venues, which can be used free of charge."
(Japanese original by Shohei Oshima, City News Department, and Masaru Shimizu, Hokkaido News Department)