Tuesday 19 March 2019

Ireland's Euro 2020 opener to be held in Gibraltar as Uefa gives green light

Ready for action: Manager Mick McCarthy. Photo: Sportsfile
Ready for action: Manager Mick McCarthy. Photo: Sportsfile

Aidan Fitzmaurice and Ian Begley

Ireland supporters clubs have largely welcomed the allocation of 800 tickets to fans for the Euro 2020 qualifier.

The game in Gibraltar will be Mick McCarthy's first game in his second spell as manager of the side.

Gibraltar have revealed their intention to host the Ireland game on Saturday, March 23, in the 2,300-capacity Victoria Stadium, the venue used for their home Nations League games last year.

Previously, Gibraltar's home competitive games had been played in Faro, Portugal.

Uefa had expressed concerns over the stadium's ability to host the Euro 2020 matches but following a lengthy process, the Gibraltar FA have been given permission to play the game on home soil.

"Uefa announced that Gibraltar will host the Republic of Ireland at the Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar on Saturday, March 23, following necessary upgrades," the FAI said in a statement.

The FAI has also pledged to make changes to the controversial ticket allocation for away games, saying 65pc of tickets for away matches would be "going to the most loyal supporters". "The FAI has secured 800 tickets for the most loyal Ireland supporters to attend that Group D opener and these will be allocated through a distribution scheme that has given supporters a 25pc increase overall," it said.

The remaining tickets will be distributed to supporters from affiliated football leagues and 15pc will be provided to supporters travelling with the FAI's official travel partner, Abbey Travel.

The Confederation of Republic of Ireland Supporters Clubs said: "It is a great boost for Irish supporters and an extremely positive outcome."

Irish Independent

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