Rugby World Cup
Rugby World Cup ticket-holders are in danger of being ripped off while attending matches at host venues with hidden price increase. Reuters/Andrew Boyers

Rugby World Cup ticket-holders are in danger of being ripped off while attending matches at host venues as prices for refreshments, match-day programmes, and Ref!Link radios increased. Price hike for food and drink during games have been imposed despite tournament organisers’ call to urge venues not to cash in on the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England.

Fans who have already paid up to £715 (AU$1542.65) just to be at Britain’s biggest sporting event since the Olympic Games are in trouble of being hit in the pocket again once they arrive at a stadium for a Rugby World Cup match. Despite already charging well in excess of supermarket prices for food and drink, concession stands during the tournament could net an additional hundreds of thousands of pounds due to price increase.

According to the Telegraph, increases of up to 20 percent will be on like-for-like products, with some costing double supermarket prices, while beer price hikes of up to £1 (AU$2.15) pound is expected as a result of Heineken’s sponsorship of the tournament. The report also stated that Match-day programmes will be at £10 (AU$21.57) across the board, almost twice the cost of the most expensive England football or rugby programme of £3-£4 (AU$6.47-AU$8.63), with Ref!Link radios to have gone up by 25 percent to £10.

The price increases drew an angry response from MPs. Damian Collins, a Conservative member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. Collins said that fans are being ripped off, encouraging them to not buy products if they are being sold at inflated prices. Labour’s shadow sports minister Clive Efford called out ticket-holders to boycott concession stands during tournament matches, and asked fans to bring their own refreshments before attending games.

A World Rugby spokesperson said that the price increase only shows the Rugby World Cup in England is very special. “England 2015 is a very special, once-in-a-generation celebration of rugby and the commemorative programmes and multi-channel tournament-wide ref ears reflect that status. The pricing is comparable to 2011 and the revenues generated will go back into the development of the sport worldwide,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, players at the Rugby World Cup have been warned that they will face tougher penalties for diving and stricter enforcement of anti-dissent law as they try to clamp down on football-style behaviour. Committee Chairman of World Rugby John Jeffrey said “divers” will be sanctioned very heavily in the upcoming tournament.

“We are the showcase of our rugby event and it’s very important we keep our values there, and referees have been asked to sanction very heavily on that,” The Guardian reported. “There will be yellow cards for diving and we also have the punishment in rugby that you can march somebody back 10 metres.”

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