Trap's Army face €2,800 bill -- even if beer budget cut to €200
FOOTBALL fans will have to splash out at least €2,800 to see Ireland's opening three games in this summer's European Championships.
And that's if they keep their spend on booze to just €200, according to a new study by the National Consumer Agency (NCA).
Trap's lads face world champions Spain, plus Italy and Croatia. The team could be on an early plane home if we fail to qualify out of Group C at the Poland/Ukraine tournament.
But the high costs of attending just three games at the football festival in Poland will see many going into the red to follow the Boys in Green.
The NCA has estimated that flights and other travel arrangements will cost about €620.
Accommodation is set to be another hefty cost for those thinking of making the trip, with the NCA estimating that eight nights in a two-star hotel in Poznan and two in Gdansk will come in at €1,207.
And it would be considerably more for any fans who managed to book a room in the hotel where the team will be based -- the luxurious Sheraton Hotel in the seaside resort of Sopot, near Gdansk.
However, in what will come as a surprise to some, the consumer association also estimates that just €200 will be spent by the average football fan in the pubs.
But with the price of a pint due to rise beyond €3 in Poland during the tournament, the cost of a night out might be considerably more.
The group games will be played over eight days, meaning that many fans will be planning to spend about one-and-a-half weeks abroad.
Ireland play the Croats in Poznan on Sunday, June 10, before moving 440km north to Gdansk to face Spain the following Thursday. The squad will then return to Poznan for a meeting with manager Giovanni Trapattoni's native Italy on Monday, June 18.
Head of the NCA Ann Fitzgerald advised Trap's Army to allow at least €15 for travel insurance, put aside €300 as a contingency fund, and take €150 for eating out. Another €200 will be needed for general breakfasts, lunches and dinners.
Mobile phone roaming charges are likely to cost around €50. And fans were warned to be "scam savvy" to avoid being taken to the cleaners by fraudulent ticket sellers and other sharp operators hanging around the stadia.
They are advised to only buy tickets from the official UEFA website or through an FAI appointed travel agent.
Ms Fitzgerald said: "It's important for fans planning on making the trip over to Poland to plan ahead, not just for their travel arrangements but also to make sure they budget and plan ahead for the cost of the trip.
"With less than six months to kick off, we estimate that it could cost from €2,800 to attend the first three Ireland matches.
Planning ahead financially can help fans work out how much they can afford to spend and spread the cost of paying for the trip."
Credit unions expect to be deluged with applications for loans to fund trips by the Green Army for the Euros.
Personal finance experts say many fans will not have enough time to save the money needed to fund it. To save €3,000 in six months will mean saving at least €500 a month, said Frank Conway of MoneyCoach.ie.
The full NCA Euro Championships budget planner is at www.nca.ie.