Saturday 3 December 2016

Desperate Irish fans rent wheelchair to get into stadium for Belgium game

Cathal McMahon

Published 20/06/2016 | 12:31

Shane Long gets caught in the crossfire as Belgium’s Thomas Vermaelen and Toby Alderweireld lead with their studs up in the air. Photo: Sportsfile
Shane Long gets caught in the crossfire as Belgium’s Thomas Vermaelen and Toby Alderweireld lead with their studs up in the air. Photo: Sportsfile

A group of Irish fans rented a wheelchair to get into the stadium for Ireland's crunch clash with Belgium.

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At least two supporters secured tickets for the disabled section of the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux on Saturday.

However the pair had no disability so they rented a wheelchair in the French city.

A source said: “These Irish fans were promised tickets but when they collected them they realised that they were actually for the section for people with disabilities.

“They were desperate to go so they rented a wheelchair and one fan pushed the second guy in. They covered the 'disabled' guy's legs with an Irish tricolour.”

The well-placed source explained that the ruse was not spotted by staff at the stadium.

The Irish Embassy, which opened a temporary consulate in the coastal city, estimated that two-thirds of the Irish fans in the city do not have official passes for the games.

A total of 9,000 tickets were given to the Irish and Belgian football associations. The remainder were distributed by UEFA. It's believed that a number of these fell into Irish hands.

Tickets for the game were selling for between €300 and €1,000 on the black-market but many supporters said they would rather watch it in the pub or Fanzone rather than fund touts.

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