FAI insists boys will bring in the green
Published 08/10/2010 | 05:00
FAI BOSS John Delaney has insisted tonight's crucial European Championship qualifier at the new Lansdowne Road will sell out.
In the region of 1,000 tickets which were returned by the Russian Football Federation went on sale last night, with any remaining available at the stadium this morning.
Premium-level tickets -- from €105 -- were also still available through Ticketmaster last night, with the FAI declining to give an exact number on how many.
However, Mr Delaney was confident the match against Russia would attract "a huge crowd".
"We're sold out, bar some tickets back from the Russians today," he said.
With Giovanni Trapattoni's side winning their opening two games in the group, and facing a Russian side who are the favourites to win the group, anything less than a full house would be a major disappointment for the FAI.
"I think you'll hear the manager say it, 'Get behind the team'," Mr Delaney said.
"We want that place rocking. There's a lot of doom and gloom, it's all negativity. It would be wonderful if we could qualify for a major tournament.
"I think this is a great opportunity for the Irish public to get behind the team in a real way."
The association has received heavy criticism in recent months over the pricing of its tickets, especially after an underwhelming response to the sale of 10-year premium-level seats.
However, it has made a number of commercial deals in an attempt to fill the stadium tonight, including a deal with customers of its new shirt sponsor, 3, and by making family tickets available from €80 through a newspaper tie-in.
Last Saturday's interprovincial rugby match between Leinster and Munster brought a crowd close to the 51,000 capacity, and the FAI will be hoping for a similar late run on tickets.
And Mr Delaney said measures were being put in place to ensure the exit problems that followed that game would not be repeated tonight.
Some people had to spend 40 minutes in the underpass which exits the West Stand as thousands attempted to get to the DART station.
The FAI said the Russian Football Federation had returned one third of the 3,000 tickets it had been allocated, and these tickets would be made available at a cost of €50.