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Friday 13 December 2019

Irish fans face real scramble for tickets

Slovakia fans in Trnava
Slovakia fans in Trnava

Ireland fans are facing a real scramble for tickets for the Euro 2020 play-offs, especially if a unique all-Ireland final at Windsor Park comes to pass, with less than 1,000 tickets available for the Republic's fans for a game in Belfast.

The chance of even one game at home in the play-offs was denied to Mick McCarthy's side as a draw at UEFA HQ yesterday determined that the winners of the Slovakia v Republic of Ireland tie will be away to either Northern Ireland or Bosnia. Another draw, in Bucharest next Saturday, will show who Ireland play in the tournament should they qualify.

The Slovak FA have another four weeks before they must confirm the venue for the one-off game.

They had played all of their group games in the city of Trnava, 50km outside the capital Bratislava. But after talks following the draw, they told the FAI that they hope to play the game in Bratislava, in the newly-built Tehelne Pole stadium, which has a slightly bigger capacity (22,500) than Trnava.

Attended

Only 7,900 fans attended Slovakia's last group game in Trnava, less than half the capacity.

Slovakia are only obliged to give the FAI 1,125 tickets for away supporters but with at least 2,000 expected to travel, it's hoped more Irish fans can get in.

"Slovakia have intimated the game will take place in Bratislava but they have some final checks to make on the ground there before they can confirm it as the venue," said an FAI statement.

"We have also opened talks with them on the allocation of tickets and will update our fans as soon as we can. We are guaranteed five per cent of the tickets but we are negotiating for more."

Given the five-day turnaround between the games, less than 1,000 would be expected to travel to Bosnia.

But a five per cent allocation for Windsor Park would give the Republic's supporters just 925 tickets, a major headache.

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