Saturday 21 April 2018

D-Day looms for Ireland fans hoping to secure tickets for Bosnia away leg

Ireland fans will struggle to get tickets for the Bosnia match
Ireland fans will struggle to get tickets for the Bosnia match
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

Ireland fans travelling to see the Boys In Green against Bosnia in Zenica on Friday, November 13, will know on Monday whether or not their ticket allocation has been successful.

Under UEFA rules, the away association is entitled to just five per cent of tickets and that equates to just 575 for the crucial first leg with the FAI securing an extra 25.

In addition to the 600 general admission tickets for Irish fans, the FAI are entitled to purchase 200 more top category tickets which are normally for VIP guests, sponsors and players' families.

While it is believed the FAI are pushing for more tickets in this section from their Bosnian counterparts, the 600 general admission allocation cannot be increased because of buffer zones and security measures.

Ireland fans will know on Monday whether their ticket applications have been successful or not and many supporters have held back on booking flights and accommodation to Zenica because of the uncertainty.

Under the current FAI ticket strategy, away tickets are distributed as follows:

  • 55 per cent will be distributed to supporters from affiliated football Leagues and more than 2,000 clubs that fall under their remit, Board and National Council members, players/staff, Club Ireland members, and Jack Charlton Lounge patrons.
  • 30 per cent will be allocated to independent supporters who are members of Republic of Ireland Soccer Supporter Clubs or Fans' Direct.
  • 15 per cent will be provided to supporters travelling with the FAI's official travel partner, Abbey Travel. These supporters have their details of match attendance at away games logged should they ever decide to apply independently for tickets.

This system has, however, been criticised by some sections of the Irish support.

While just 30pc of all tickets have been allocated to regular travelling fans, members of Supporters Clubs or the wider football family are not judged on their previous travel history with the distribution of tickets at he discrepancy of each club.

Members of Fans Direct, who are independent fans and not aligned of any FAI affiliated Supporters Club, are judged on a points-based system and previous matches atended.

"The introduction of Fans Direct is a stepping stone and very much welcomed. We are very open to working with the FAI to make sure all fans are treated equally when it comes to ticket distribution," said a spokesperson for Fans group

"We feel all fans should be judged on the same basis. A points-based system should be introduced for every group of Irish fans and that way, those who travel to more games will be the ones who have a better chance of securing a ticket. That is how it works in England, Scotland and Wales and is absolutely a fair system."

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