Ulster to trial 600 supporters at first home game of season at Kingspan Stadium

Ulster in action against the Cheetahs
Ulster beat the Cheetahs 20-10 in the Pro14 in their last home game at Kingspan Stadium on 22 February

Ulster Rugby has announced that it is to trial admitting 600 supporters to Kingspan Stadium for their first Pro14 game of the season against Benetton.

The trial to reintroduce fans follows a comprehensive consultation process with local government, Belfast City Council and the IRFU.

All 600 tickets for Friday's game will be made available to #TogetherUlster Members by means of an online ballot.

In total, 850 people will attend the season opener in Belfast.

Three hundred members will be randomly selected and offered the opportunity to purchase two tickets each.

Ulster's home ground can facilitate a capacity of 18,211 but restrictions are in place because of guidelines introduced to minimise the spread of coronavirus.

"The event provides the club with the opportunity to work with supporters, to test a safe and manageable return to operations at Kingspan Stadium," explained a statement released by Ulster Rugby on Tuesday.

"Fans will be asked to provide feedback on their experience, to ensure the club continues to provide a safe and enjoyable experience in the weeks and months ahead."

'Culmination of considerable planning'

Ulster Rugby chief executive Jonny Petrie said: "Following a number of very challenging months for us all, I'm encouraged that this weekend will mark the measured return of a limited number of spectators to Kingspan Stadium.

"It seems only fitting that the fans who chose to support us by buying a membership, during what is likely to be one of the most difficult times we will face as a club, will be able to join us in the stands as we kick off the new Pro14 season at home.

"This event is the culmination of a considerable amount of planning and preparation from across Ulster Rugby - together with the IRFU, Belfast City Council and local government - to ensure this is a safe and managed return to the Friday night lights.

"We hope the upcoming match will be the solid foundation on which we can continue to build towards once again being able to all stand up together."

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