After careful consideration of all the options, the Blues have decided, for the safety of their fans, to cancel the planned Blues Footy Fest event at Eden Park this Saturday.
The Footy Fest was to feature the pre-season match between the Blues and Crusaders. The match came about after the final game of the 2020 Super season between the two sides at a sold-out Eden Park was also cancelled after Auckland moved to a Level 3 alert.
“We completely understand the situation and we support the directive from the New Zealand Government to reduce risk of any exposure and spread of this virus,” said Blues CEO Andrew Hore.
“Our priority is the safety and wellbeing of our players, staff and of course all of our fans. We all need to do our part to protect any spread of Covid-19 and at the current Level-3 Alert means we are unable to proceed with the game.
“Our staff had worked so very hard on this Footy Fest match not just as a great game of rugby but a great occasion to celebrate our communities and very worthy charities.”
Hore said finding a pre-season playing opportunity is vital to the Blues preparation for the Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa competition.
“Pre-season fixtures ensure an even playing field, adequate conditioning and preparation for the intensity of the competition. We are exploring all avenues in order to play a pre-season game due to its importance to the overall outcome of the competition and our ability to be a genuine contender.”
The Footy Fest was planned to include a range of family fun activities and put the spotlight on the multi-cultural nature of the Blues region, as well as support three charities affected by the coronavirus, comprising the Graeme Dingle Foundation, I Have a Dream and Kids Can which all aim to help young people navigate their way through life in a positive manner.
The Blues will reach out to members and ticketholders for the Footy Fest game directly in the coming days.
The club will aim to add some of the Footy Fest activations in to their first home game in the Sky Super Rugby Aotearoa competition at Eden Park against the Highlanders on Sunday March 14.
The Blues will continue to work closely with New Zealand Rugby and the New Zealand Government around Alert levels and how this affects the team as an integral part in the successful staging of the tournament.