(Reuters) - Former employees of British airline Flybe, who had won tickets to the Exeter Chiefs match in the Premiership on Saturday, were refused entry into Sandy Park stadium, reports in the British media said.
Flybe have sponsored the club since 2010 but the long-struggling regional airline collapsed last week following a plunge in travel demand due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The BBC reported that ex-Flybe employees who arrived at the venue for the match against Bath, which Exeter won 57-20, were told the tickets they won at in-house competitions had been cancelled because of a management decision at the club.
"I was really looking forward to going to the game, I've been a fan for years and it would have been a welcome break from the last two days," the BBC quoted Tanya Lloyd, a former health and safety manager at the airline, as saying.
"I'd just like the Chiefs to admit what they did wrong and make an apology."
Flybe's logo has been on the team's shirts during all four of their Premiership finals appearances, including their title-winning campaign in 2017.
The BBC said Exeter did not want to comment on the matter. The Premiership table-toppers did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
Noel Beavis, another former employee, said the stance of the club showed little respect for the relationship with Flybe while others expressed their outrage on social media.
"Quite a contrast to Exeter City Football Club who invited any Flybe employees to attend their next game free of charge. That's partnership," Beavis told the Devon Live website.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christopher Cushing)
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