Premiership rugby club Exeter Chiefs claims it was a “commercial decision” to refuse entry to Flybe staff members with corporate tickets following the airline’s collapse.

The chairman of the current league leaders Tony Rowe said “there isn’t a lot of compassion in business” after ticket holders were told their tickets were no longer valid at Saturday’s matchup against Bath.

Last week, UK airline Flybe went into administration making 2,000 employees redundant. Prior to its collapse, Flybe staff were allocated tickets as work incentives, but were left disappointed at the gate after being told they could not watch the game.

Rowe added, according to the BBC: “I feel sorry for all their staff who have lost their jobs but the reality is they were given something by their previous employers and that item was void.”

He added that the rugby club was “not a charity”.

Rowe said he was “saddened to hear of the airline’s demise” but it had “failed to conclude a commercial agreement”.

Tickets had been issued to Flybe, who had been sponsors since 2010, and the club did not know some were used as staff incentives.

Rowe said airline managers were told “if the deal is off, the deal is off” and that their allocated tickets would not be accepted at the gate.

“It appears this key information was not forwarded on to those staff who had been allocated tickets for this game and that of future games.”

All Flybe staff have now been offered free admission to watch the Exeter Braves, the club’s second team, in a match next month “as a small gesture”.