Monday 24 October 2016

Football fans ready to scramble for tickets in Bosnia

Sam Griffin

Published 19/10/2015 | 02:30

Ireland are drawn to play Bosnia Herzegovina in the play-offs. Photo: Reuters
Ireland are drawn to play Bosnia Herzegovina in the play-offs. Photo: Reuters

Fans of the round ball are facing a long journey and scramble for match tickets, after the Irish football team was drawn against Bosnia Herzegovina in the Euro 2016 play-off.

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Any supporters who do find themselves in the Bilino Polje stadium in Zenica - forebodingly fixed for Friday, November 13 - will certainly have earned the right to be there.

The stadium, with just a 13,000 capacity, is expected to be announced as the venue for the crunch match, with Ireland welcoming Bosnia to the Aviva Stadium three days later for the second leg.

A 2,500km journey faces those who want to cheer on the Boys in Green in Zenica, which is the fourth-largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina and is located about an hour's bus ride from the capital, Sarajevo.

Neither Ryanair nor Aer Lingus operate direct flights to Sarajevo from Dublin, meaning fans will need to plot their route carefully.

There are a couple of different flight options, but all will involve either connecting flights to get to Sarajevo, with fans making the final journey on bus, train or rented car, or flying to a neighbouring city, like Belgrade (Serbia) or Zagreb (Croatia), and making their way from there.

Another challenge will be to secure tickets for the game, with reports that security restrictions will limit the crowd to close to 12,000.

When Wales played in Zenica earlier this month, they were allocated around 780 tickets, so Irish fans can expect a similar number to be made available.

The FAI has said it is awaiting confirmation of the venue from the Bosnian football authority before offering advice to fans.

However, a pilot scheme set up earlier this year remains in place for this game, which means half the allocation will go to those involved with domestic leagues here.

A third of tickets will be allocated to members of supporters clubs and independent fans.

Irish Independent

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