Supporters have reacted angrily to a statement issued by Exeter Rugby Club in response to reports that former Flybe employees were turned away from a home game at Sandy Park last weekend.
A number of former Flybe employees claimed they were refused entry to Exeter Chiefs’ game against Bath on Saturday despite having tickets, and were informed that a management decision had been made by the club to cancel the tickets following the airline’s collapse.
Flybe, which was based in Exeter, went into administration last Wednesday.
The club have now issued a statement responding to the claims, confirming that the tickets were cancelled based on Flybe’s failure to “conclude a commercial agreement.”
The club have offered all former Flybe staff tickets to a Premiership Rugby Shield game between Exeter Braves and Saracens Storm next month, but did not apologise for the cancellation of tickets.
This has led to an angry backlash from supporters on Twitter, who felt the club should have at least offered the staff tickets to a Exeter Chiefs game.
“Christ alive, talk about making a bad situation worse. Not a hint of an apology, or acknowledgement of the embarrassment caused to the Flybe staff,” one supporter wrote.
Another said: “Love this club but this is awful. I’m ashamed.”
Another angry supporter felt the tickets would be of little interest to the affected Flybe staff.
“As much as I support the Chiefs, this was disgusting. It amounts to kicking people when they are down through no fault of their own. As for offering them tickets for Monday (a junior match), a lot of folks will be working and may have family that make attending impractical.”
Another supporter wrote: “Those people had just lost their jobs. So you kicked them when they were down & there is NO justification for what you did. It was humiliating and cruel. It would have been the last time anyway after FlyBe’s demise. Shame on you.”
The club had intially declined to comment on the incident before releasing their statement on Monday.
The statement issued by the club read:
“Exeter Rugby Club would today like to issue the following statement in relations to former employees of Flybe being turned away from Sandy Park ahead of Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership fixture between Exeter Chiefs and Bath Rugby.
“Like many people within the city and across Devon, Exeter Rugby Club were saddened to hear of the airline’s demise and the subsequent impact it would have, not only on all of its staff, but also the City of Exeter and the region as a whole.
“Match-day tickets were issued as part of a commercial agreement between the Rugby Club and Flybe. Sadly, Flybe has failed to conclude that commercial agreement, which in turn has led to the cancellation of tickets.
“The Rugby Club had no idea as to who these tickets were issued to, nor for what reason they would be used. We are now aware that some of these tickets have been used for staff incentives.
“Detailed information, however, was sent to senior Flybe management informing them of the fact that any future benefits would no longer be in place. It appears this key information was not forwarded onto those staff who had been allocated tickets for this game and that of future games.
“At a difficult time for all Flybe staff, Exeter Rugby Club would – as a small gesture – like to offer all former staff free entry to the Premiership Rugby Shield encounter between Exeter Braves and Saracens Storm on Monday, April 6.
“To access a ticket for this fixture, staff are asked to bring along a form of proof of employment on the day of the game.”
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