Ticket scramble threat as fever hits ahead of Romania clash
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of Italia 90, we will be reliving all the action from that memorable World Cup
Senior FAI officials were last night locked in negotiations with FIFA in a bid to avoid a ticket debacle as hundreds more fans prepared to swell the ranks of Jack's Army, for Monday's World Cup game in Genoa, in a fleet of special charters.
One report last night suggested that just 2,600 tickets would be allocated to the FAI.
But 50pc of tickets have already been allocated for local sale in Genoa, where seating at the stadium has been cut back by almost 20pc for security reasons.
A further 15pc of tickets will be allocated to FIFA and a small percentage will go to VIPs. Irish officials were uncertain last night what sort of total allocation could be cobbled together for Irish fans but they were hopeful that the Romanian demand would be modest.
First priority will be given to Irish fans travelling from Sicily, but their numbers are expected to remain fairly static, as the credit card companies promised "sympathetic" hearings for credit extensions.
Last night the Government backed supporters, as Tourism and Transport Minister Seamus Brennan pledged to closely monitor chartered flight prices and Sports Minster Frank Fahey promised a fair deal for fans.
"We want to see as many Irish people in Italy as possible and we want to see them getting tickets at face value and to see them getting the cheapest possible fares to get there, " said Minister Fahey.
"I have been in touch with FIFA in Rome to request that we don't have a repea of what happened in Sardinia and Sicily and that Ireland is treated properly, that we gert our fair share of tickets, and that we get them at proper prices."
Last night Aer Lingus confirmed they had one charter flight already booked, carrying 356 people for ray Treacym Liffey and Abbey Travel leaving Dublin on Monday morning at 9.40am and returning 18 hours later.
Both AIB and Bank Of Irelandsaid they would treat credit card extension requests sympathetically but advised card holders to contact them first.
Meanwhile, in Genoa yesterda, in an indirect tribute to the reputation of the Irish fans, the city authorities softened an alcohol ban which had been imposed over fears of hooligan violence as English fans passed through the port on their way to Sardinia.