Saturday 14 December 2019

Euro 2020 draw: FAI dreaming of home draw to avoid ticket and travel chaos

Ireland players after the draw with Denmark
Ireland players after the draw with Denmark
The draw will be made at 11am. (stock photo)

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Ireland's players and supporters will learn today what the reward will be for a win over Slovakia in the semi-final of the Euro 2020 play-off in March. That could be a one-off game in Dublin over 90 minutes, also next March, with a place at Euro 2020 waiting at the end, or an away test in Belfast or Bosnia.

What's happening today?

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The draw will be made at 11am, in UEFA HQ in Nyon, for home advantage for the final games in each of the Euro 2020 play-offs.

Can we watch?

The draw will be streamed live on uefa.com.

Are Ireland not already away, to Slovakia?

That's in the semi-final. The winners of that tie will be up against either Bosnia or Northern Ireland in the final, today decides if that's home or away.

So the Republic could have a one-off game, in Dublin or Belfast, to get a place in the finals?

Yes.

But if Ireland win away to Slovakia and are drawn away to Bosnia in the play-off final, the team and fans have only a couple of days to get to Zenica, Bosnia's likely match venue?

Yes. Not easy in terms of logistics.

Because this is a case of one, possibly two, stand-alone games, can Irish fans get more tickets?

UEFA protocol is that the home nation has to provide at least five per cent of capacity to away supporters and that works when you have two reciprocal group games, but UEFA have confirmed there's no change to the five per cent rule here even though there's a clear advantage for the home team. For Belfast, the FAI would officially get just 1,100 tickets, a nightmare trying to cope with demand. And Bosnia are only obliged to give the FAI 750 tickets for Zenica.

But if the Republic are at home in the play-off final?

They'd have to give the Bosnian FA, or the IFA, 2,400 tickets.

What happens next?

All eyes are on Bucharest for the draw for the finals proper tomorrow week. We now know that if the Republic of Ireland qualify they will be in Group E, along with Spain, with two group games in Dublin and the other in Bilbao.

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