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'Green Army' footsoldiers pull rank as ticket battle begins

FANS hoping to watch Ireland in person at Euro 2012 have been warned -- if you're not a dedicated member of the 'Green Army', you don't stand a chance of buying a ticket from the FAI.

Although supporters can apply for tickets from Monday week, the FAI has an allocation of 6,000 tickets per game -- meaning demand will certainly outstrip supply.

There is some good news though -- the much sought after tickets are half the price of Euro 2008 equivalents, with group games in both Poznan and Gdansk priced from €30 to €120.

Those intent on travelling without tickets are being urged not to buy from touts.

But in Poland next summer it will be every football fan for himself -- and thousands are expected to travel from Ireland in hope of picking up a match brief on the black market.

Meanwhile, the FAI has set up a lottery system for supporters who want something more definite.

And from December 5 those who have attended away games during the qualification stages, members of the FAI's Vantage Club, season ticket holders and active block bookers will be contacted by the FAI and given a password.

On December 12, those contacted can use the password to buy tickets online. This is not being done on a 'first come. first served' basis so there is no hurry to register, although the cut-off date is February 29.

Individuals can apply for a maximum of two tickets per game and successful applicants will be notified by March 15.

Fans who don't tick the necessary boxes to apply through the lottery have other options with packages available through Abbey Travel, Thompson Sport and a 'last chance saloon' where unwanted tickets from fans of other nationalities can be bought.

An FAI spokesman explained: "It could be fans from Ukraine who get Irish match tickets; they don't physically have them in their hands but they have a voucher for the tickets so they can contact the resale portal and sell them on."

The 50pc reduction in ticket prices from Euro 2008 is most likely due to the reduced spending power of people living in the host nations of Poland and Ukraine.

In the group stages, 'category one' top-tier tickets cost €30; category two tickets, probably behind the goal, cost €70; and category three tickets, with premium lower tier views, cost €120.

Should Ireland qualify from their group, fans will pay €40, €80 or €150 for quarter-final tickets. Prices for the semi-final matches range from €45, €150 or €270. And dare you dream it, tickets for the final will set back those lucky enough to find them either €50, €330 or €600.

Irish Independent