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Thursday 8 December 2016

Boost for Irish fans as 6,500 extra tickets made available for Euros

Jonathan Walters celebrates Ireland’s qualification (Photo: SPORTSFILE)
Jonathan Walters celebrates Ireland’s qualification (Photo: SPORTSFILE)

Irish football fans have been handed a boost ahead of the European Championships in France with the announcement that 6,500 extra tickets will be allocated to them.

An FAI spokesman confirmed last night that UEFA will make the tickets available.

The exact number of additional tickets is 6,502 and they have already been received by the association.

They will be distributed between Ireland's three Group E games against Sweden, Belgium and Italy.

The combined number of tickets now provided to Irish supporters is 35,502. A total of 275,000 ticket applications from Ireland to UEFA's online portal was recorded, and successful applicants will be informed by February 29 at the latest.

On top of the extra allocation, the FAI will receive a further 2,000 tickets for each game from UEFA, and these will be held for loyal fans who miss out in the original allocation.

The increase means there will be a total of 16,087 tickets available to Irish fans for the opening game against Sweden on Monday, June 13 at the Stade de France in Paris, almost twice the allocation of tickets for the other two group games.

There will be 7,095 tickets available for the game against Belgium on Saturday, June 18 at the Stade de Bordeaux in Bordeaux, while 9,320 tickets will be available for Ireland's final match, against Italy, on Wednesday, June 22 at the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille.

Satisfying

FAI chief executive John Delaney said last night: "I am very happy to say that following meetings in Nyon, Switzerland last Friday, UEFA has awarded Republic of Ireland fans with 6,502 more tickets.

"These tickets will go some way to satisfying the huge demand for Ireland matches at EURO 2016."

Only 30pc of the whole allocation has been set aside for fans who travel away to watch Ireland on a regular basis, with 55pc for the so-called football family.

The 30pc figure is dramatically lower than other nations such as England, Wales and Northern Ireland, all of which allocate more than 90pc of their tickets for fans who travel regularly.

The FAI came under fire in November 2014 when it emerged that hundreds of fans who travel away to see their team on a regular basis did not get a ticket for the crucial qualifier against Scotland in Glasgow.

At the time, Mr Delaney admitted that someone in the FAI had "dropped the ball" when it came to the distribution of the tickets and added that steps would be taken to ensure the situation was not repeated.

Supporters group YouBoysInGreen, who were very critical of the FAI following the Scotland game, said there is still uncertainty surrounding the distribution of Euro 2016 tickets from the FAI despite what happened in Glasgow.

"The FAI have insisted that priority will be given to fans and the football family and we welcome that. However, we feel the 30pc for fans is very low," they said.

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