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Former GAA president Seán Kelly slams 'ridiculous' Euro 2016 ticketing allocation

Updated: Friday, 22 Jan 2016 09:35 | Comments

Ireland fans, who made over 275,000 applications for tickets for matches involving the national team at Euro 2016, will receive an official allocation of 26,000 tickets
Ireland fans, who made over 275,000 applications for tickets for matches involving the national team at Euro 2016, will receive an official allocation of 26,000 tickets

Former GAA president Seán Kelly has slammed UEFA's "ridiculous" ticket allocation to Ireland fans for Euro 2016.

Kelly, the MEP for Ireland South and leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament, was speaking in Strasbourg on Thursday, and said European soccer's governing body has not thought the structure through. 

"It is unacceptable that such a minuscule allocation of tickets has been given to the actual supporters of the teams," Kelly said.

"We now have a situation in which the loyal Irish fans will not be able to get tickets for these crucial games having spent their hard earned money following our team around the globe for years."

Ireland fans have been allocated 26,000 tickets for the three group-stage games, with half of that amount being for crunch opener against Sweden on 13 June.

Allocations of 6,000 and 7,000 tickets have been provided for the following games against Belgium and Italy respectively.

"We will now have a situation in which our fans and the fans of the other teams desperate to get into the stadium will end up being forced to pay extortionate amounts for tickets on the buy-and-sell market"

Kelly noted that this ticketing policy will merely give neutral opportunists the chance to make a massive profit by selling their tickets to travelling supporters.

"We know from the tournaments of the past in Germany, Italy, USA, Korea and Japan, Poland and Ukraine, that Irish supporters will travel with or without tickets," he added. 

"We will now have a situation in which our fans and the fans of the other teams desperate to get into the stadium will end up being forced to pay extortionate amounts for tickets on the buy-and-sell market.

"UEFA, as unfortunately is now often the case, have not logically thought through their plans.

"I hope that a solution is found to this issue – our fans promote Ireland around the world and my colleagues in Parliament regularly [tell] me that the Irish fans are the best fans in the world. It is important they have the chance to support the team.

"There is an easy and fair solution available to UEFA - increase the allocations of tickets for the actual supporters of teams playing in the matches.

"I call on UEFA to take action to rectify their mistake, and I'm confident that I would get a strong majority of support for this request were I to put it to my colleagues in the European Parliament."

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