Monday 20 November 2017

England clash gets lunchtime kick-off

Shane Long celebrates scoring against England at Wembley
Shane Long celebrates scoring against England at Wembley

GARDA concerns about the impact of alcohol consumption are the primary factor in the decision to set a 1.0pm kick-off time for England's historic return to Dublin on June 7.

The friendly, the first meeting in Ireland between the sides since visiting hooligans caused chaos at Lansdowne Road in 1995, will take place at Sunday lunchtime following discussions between the associations, broadcasters and the gardai.

While a late-afternoon clash was one of the options on the table, the gardai were looking for the earliest possible start to limit the window for drinking beforehand.

Organisers are confident that the match will pass off without incident in a similar manner to the 2013 meeting at Wembley, with the English FA handling the distribution of their 3,000 tickets to recognised supporters.

However, a safety-first approach is being taken to reduce the possibility of inflammatory behaviour.

Concerns were raised about the Dublin game after England's trip to take on Scotland at Celtic Park in November was marred by anti-IRA chants from the travelling section.

Roy Hodgson condemned the supporters responsible - who sang along to a tune that was played by the England band - and the FA committed to discussions with fan groups to avoid a repeat of the same playlist at the Aviva Stadium.

The FAI have yet to release Irish ticket details but it is anticipated that the vast majority of home tickets - aside from those already allotted to season-ticket holders - will be distributed between clubs and leagues.

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