Green Army urged to be wary fake ticket scams
French warn football fans about forgeries
An estimated 10,000 ticketless Irish fans have been warned to be wary of forged Euro 2016 match passes.
Uefa and football federations in the 24 participating countries have warned fans not to buy tickets from unofficial outlets - and to be extremely vigilant for forgeries if, in their desperation to get match tickets, they resort to touts or internet purchases.
The warning came as the Irish team flew to France for the country's third European Championship adventure.
The 23 players and their backroom team, led by manager Martin O'Neill and assistant manager Roy Keane, flew with CityJet to travel to their base at the Trianon Palace in Versailles on the outskirts of Paris. CityJet chairman Pat Byrne said it was "an honour" to bring the Irish squad to France for Euro 2016.
To make the occasion even more special, CityJet used a brand-new aircraft, a SuperJet SSJ100, to bring the Irish party to Le Bourget airport, the oldest in Paris, for the onward transfer to Versailles.
However, a number of Irish fans have already been left heartbroken after apparently falling for online ticket scams. French authorities stressed that given the heightened state of security around every venue, fans with counterfeit tickets would not be allowed near the stadium involved.
The warning came as it emerged tickets for some of the prime Euro 2016 first-round group matches are now changing hands for as much as €8,000.
While the bulk of forgeries seized so far have related to French matches, organisers are worried that a flood of counterfeit tickets will hit the streets in the 48 hours before the competition begins - as criminals attempt to fleece desperate fans.
One man was tricked out of €300 when he bought a ticket for the Ireland-Italy game in Lille from a website that portrayed itself as an official ticket reseller.
Joe Ahern from Cork paid for the ticket by debit card and was horrified when the ticket site then vanished.
"I hadn't planned to go, but a few friends were travelling and I said I'd head out if I could get a ticket," he said.
"The lads had even offered me accommodation. The site looked the real deal, but within minutes of me paying it had vanished into thin air."
Uefa warned fans only to purchase tickets from official outlets. While these were sold out months ago, Uefa does allow a specific resale site for fans with tickets who are unable to attend the finals, or who have spare tickets.