Friday 28 October 2016

Desperate Irish fans pay black market touts more than €2k per ticket for France showdown

Wayne O’Connor and Ralph Riegel

Published 24/06/2016 | 18:20

Ireland fans are shelling out huge sums for tickets for Sunday's Euroe 2016 clash against France. Photo: Mark Condren
Ireland fans are shelling out huge sums for tickets for Sunday's Euroe 2016 clash against France. Photo: Mark Condren

More tickets are starting to appear on the black market for Ireland’s Euro 2016 game with France as Irish supporters scramble to make the match.

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The number of tickets available on resale websites and being sold by touts trebled yesterday as supporters from other countries began offloading tickets to attend other games at the competition.

Many supporters from Sweden, Belgium, Turkey and Switzerland had bought tickets for the game in Lyon anticipating their teams would either qualify or play their last 16 matches there.

However, Turkey and Sweden’s elimination from the competition and other teams being drawn to play games elsewhere in France means extra tickets have suddenly become available.

One family from Clare has already committed to spending €4,000 on tickets for games all the way to the final in the hope that Ireland progress.

Eoin Murphy from Ennis bought eight tickets for each group game and four more for the last 16, quarter final, semi final and final.

“We have 28 tickets in all for each of the games if we qualify but it’ll cost a fortune because every time we win now the money will come straight from my account.

“I’m trying to weigh up if we will stay or go home. I have booked a trip to central America for later in the summer and I don’t know what to do about it.

“I am very tempted to stay on if we beat France but I’d hate to go travelling with no money.”

His brother Emmet travelled home from Vancouver for a wedding three weeks ago but ended up going to Ireland’s last three games at the tournament.

He was considering staying on in France to see Ireland progress but is afraid of the costs involved.

“If I hadn’t gone to the wedding I’d definitely stay but it is starting to cost too much now. My girlfriend is already gone home with our little one so I am due to follow them back now.

“I’m gutted to be missing out but I have to go back. It’s so expensive.”

Thousands of Irish supporters already in France have made their way to Lyon for the match while many more are due to fly in today and tomorrow ahead of kick off.

Despite the increased supply of tickets, prices have rose even further and were trading for more than €2,000 each last night.

The most expensive tickets available to supporters have a face value of €145.

Match tickets for the encounter are the most sought after for supporters in each country since the 1990s. Demand is so great that some ticket websites are not even advertising the fixture.

Supporters travelling to France for the game are being advised to attend the UEFA fanzone in Lyon’s city centre.

The fanzone has a capacity of 20,000 but thousands more members of the Green Army will pack into many of the Irish bars and clubs in Lyon More than 50,000 Irish fans will travel to the east of France for the match but less than 20pc of supporters have tickets.

Deputy Mayor of Lyon Georges Képénékian said the city would do all it could to cater for Irish supporters.

“We want to ensure a festive atmosphere, and make sure the perimeter fence is perfectly secure so that there are no problems,” said Mr Képénékian.

He added that security was a major priority ahead of the game.

“[The fan zone] will be completely enclosed with hand searches at every entrance plus a bag-guarding service. City and national police will also be in the area.”

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