FAI increase away ticket allocation for Ireland fans following negotiations with supporters groups
The Football Association of Ireland has made more away tickets available for Ireland fans following negotiations with supporters groups.
Previously, the FAI allocated 40 per cent of their away ticket allocation for regular fans with 45 per cent going to the 'football family' and 15 per cent for travel partners Abbey Travel.
The figure of 40 per cent has been strongly contested in the past by the YouBoysInGreen (YBIG) Independent Supporters Mandate Group, who were founded by members of the YBIG online forum, and our mandated to represent fans who are not affiliated to official supporters clubs.
Supporters clubs are part of an overall grouping - Confederation of Republic of Ireland Supporters Clubs (CRISC) - and both YBIG and CRISC have been involved in discussions with the FAI over the association's handling of away tickets, with regular travellers overlooked for big games in the past.
YBIG had argued that 40 per cent of away tickets for fans falls significantly short of other nations with the likes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland allocating over 95 per cent to fans with the remainder going to officials and family and friends of the players.
The 'football family' includes "affiliated football Leagues and more than 2,000 clubs which fall under their remit, Board and National Council members, players/staff, and Club Ireland members".
"The YBIG Independent Supporters Mandate Committee welcomes the FAI decision and consider the increase to 65% a very positive step forward," read a YBIG statement.
"This follows constructive meetings between the Committee and the FAI, in addition to the FAI’s meetings with the Confederation of Republic of Ireland Supporters Clubs (CRISC).
"We believe that this decision is a reflection of the work that ourselves and the Association have undertaken to rebuild a working relationship with independent fans.
"As per our mandate, we look forward to continued engagement with the FAI and CRISC on any matters that affect independent supporters.
"May we also take this opportunity to wish our members, all Ireland fans and the new management, team and staff a very happy and successful 2019."
CRISC added: "The Confederation of Republic of Ireland Supporters Clubs (CRISC) believes the decision to increase the away allocation to 65% is a hugely positive one.
"This comes on the back of very positive discussions involving the FAI and CRISC. This is also in addition to recent dialogue between the FAI and YBIG Mandate and is a real positive development ahead of an exciting Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, starting away to Gibraltar in March.
"It is a great boost for Irish supporters and an extremely positive outcome achieved by strong and progressive discussions. This is particularly welcome news as we look forward to showing our unwavering support to recently appointed manager Mick McCarthy and his team as they look to qualify for EURO 2020."