Slim hopes remain for Ireland fans who missed out on precious Euro 2016 tickets
There is a small glimmer of hope for Republic of Ireland fans who have received dreaded emails in recent days to tell them that their application for Euro 2016 tickets has been unsuccessful.
UEFA began the process of taking money from the accounts of successful applicants but with 275,000 applications made for games involving Ireland, a lot of supporters have been left bitterly disappointed after being notified that they didn't make the cut.
In a statement released this afternoon, the FAI reminded fans that they had been given 2,000 tickets by UEFA to allocate to loyal fans who had not been selected in the initial release of tickets.
The statement reads: "UEFA started the process of taking payments last Friday (February 12) and the majority of Ireland supporters have since been notified about the status of their ticket application.
"Applicants who received notifications from UEFA that they were unsuccessful and wish to be added to the official waiting list should forward their notification email from UEFA to email@example.com along with their FAI account number and details of the tickets that they applied for.
"The FAI opted to manage the distribution of tickets, in line with many Participating National Associations, to ensure that the most loyal supporters were catered for first.
"Preference was given to Supporters Clubs, Season Ticket holders, Fans Direct members, and supporters who have accumulated a significant number of points from their proven match attendance record.
"Priority allocation was also given to supporters from affiliated football leagues and more than 2,000 clubs that fall under their remit, Board and National Council members, Club Ireland members, Jack Charlton Lounge patrons, sponsors, players/staff, and volunteers around the country.
"With over 275,000 ticket applications made by Ireland supporters for three Group E games (against Sweden, Belgium, and Italy) in this summer's European Championships, it was impossible to meet every request. The FAI, therefore, implemented a ranking system to accommodate the most loyal supporters.
"The FAI has 2,000 tickets in reserve, which were distributed by UEFA to all Participating National Associations. These tickets will be used to satisfy the demand from supporters with a proven match attendance record, who have missed out on securing tickets through the UEFA portal.
"The same ranking system used during the initial process will be in operation for this batch of tickets, so the most deserving supporters are selected.
"Supporters can still avail of the re-sale platform, which will open in March and will be run directly by UEFA. Only registered members of the ticketing portal who attained tickets from the 2015 public portal (June 10 - July 10) are eligible to sell tickets. However, anyone can have access to the re-sale portal once the tickets become available.
"The FAI has made it a priority to free up more tickets for supporters and will remain in contact with UEFA over the coming days and weeks to secure as many tickets as possible for Ireland supporters."
Fans who received emails to say that they had missed out on seats for the games have been taking to Twitter to share their stories of disappointment:
No joy on EURO tickets. Season ticket holder at AVIVA. What the hell do you need to do. Gutted— Cormac Mac Liam (@BeattyBhoy) February 15, 2016
Missed a handful of home games in 15 years including poxy friendlies, few aways and at the last euros but no tickets this time @FAIreland— John Walsh (@jdancer78) February 15, 2016
2/2 @fai I braved wild seas in mid-winter to get to Scotland away. I went to some god-awful friendlies & loved them - still get no tickets— Hugh Gallagher (@hughgallagherrr) February 15, 2016
Hours after Valentine's ...My heart has been broken.. UEFA have just told me I was "unsuccessful" in seeking tickets for #EURO2016.— Des Cahill (@sportsdes) February 15, 2016