Brent Council leader denies saying no to 500 Rugby World Cup tickets

Cllr Muhammed Butt enjoyed a free ticket to the rugby

Cllr Muhammed Butt enjoyed a free ticket to the rugby - Credit: Archant

The leader of Brent Council has denied refusing hundreds of free tickets for residents to enjoy the Rugby World Cup.

Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of Brent Council, has spoken out after an article appeared online in the Evening Standard claiming councillors had accepted tickets for themselves from Rugby World Cup organisers but declined an offer of 500 extra tickets for community groups, schools and sports programmes.

Cllr Butt said: “I don’t know where people have got that information from. The only ticket I was offered was for myself, to attend in my capacity as leader of the council, as we’ve been actively involved in making sure the Rubgy World Cup is a successful event.”

He added: “Brent has been working hard on the Rugby World Cup for years, and we are thrilled to have been chosen as a host borough. Brent has smashed records, as the huge crowds at Wembley have even set a world record for attendance at a rugby match.

“We were very grateful to the organisers for kindly providing us with 500 free tickets, which we passed to local schools and rugby clubs, so young people could have a chance to see the games close up.”

Two matches have been played at Wembley Stadium. Cllr Butt, deputy mayor Parvez Ahmed, and three council officers were given free tickets to the New Zealand V Argentina game on September 20.

Mayor of Brent Cllr Lesley Jones and Peter Gadson, an operational director at the council watched Ireland beat Romania at the stadium on September 27.

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Among the groups invited to games were the Kilburn Cosmos Rugby Club in Anson Road, Gladstone Park, a local touch rugby group, a number of secondary and primary pupils, The Village School in Grove Park, Kingsbury, and looked after children in the council’s care.

The Rugby World Cup will end on October 31st in Twickenham.