Saturday 20 January 2018

Stand-in skipper Kelly says cut Aviva ticket prices

Stephen Kelly Photo: Getty Images
Stephen Kelly Photo: Getty Images
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Stand-in Irish captain Stephen Kelly has suggested that the FAI should reduce ticket prices to bring back the Lansdowne Roar.

The Fulham defender, who will lead Giovanni Trapattoni's makeshift team out against Uruguay at the Dublin 4 venue tonight, has revealed that the Irish players have been talking about the swathes of empty seats at matches in the new Aviva Stadium.

He acknowledges that Saturday's Euro 2012 opponents Macedonia lacked a glamour appeal that would bring punters out in droves, but he feels that efforts should be made to give Ireland the level of support that would aid the push towards the finals in Poland and Ukraine.

Therefore, the 27-year-old believes that the FAI could look at a reduction in prices as a possible solution.

"Different things need to be done to entice the fans," said Kelly (right). "Maybe marketing, or maybe changing the price of tickets.

"Of course you want to see the stadium full. We had a chat (the squad) about going back to when we qualified for tournaments and Lansdowne was always sold out, always packed."

The FAI have yet to fill the Aviva for an Irish international after moving in last August, and the attendance for last month's Carling Nations clash with Wales was just above 20,000. A low turnout is expected for the meeting with the Uruguayans, for which Trapattoni has made eight changes.

Abbotstown authorities have made efforts to cut prices, but many supporters feel they haven't gone far enough.

Tickets for friendly matches cost between €30 and €45, while competitive games are set at €40-€60. However, certain games have been tied in as part of packages, with the Macedonia and Uruguay games grouped together.

"For people, a game against Macedonia isn't appealing," continued Kelly. "But it's a huge game for us, and a massive game in the competition.

"But we always talk about the 12th man and Irish fans have always been known for that, so to have a full stadium would definitely be to our benefit, especially at the Aviva."

Giovanni Trapattoni goes with a fresh team and a new-look system for his 31st game in charge of Ireland

Irish Independent

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