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NI fans draw the short straw on Euro ticket allocation

By Alistair Grant

Published 21/12/2015

Northern Ireland fans have been given 22,720 tickets over three matches
Northern Ireland fans have been given 22,720 tickets over three matches

Northern Ireland fans will get fewer tickets than football minnows Albania and Iceland for Euro 2016, it has emerged.

Many of the Green and White Army face being left without tickets or paying up to £1,000 to touts for black market seats.

Organisers Uefa allocated the Irish FA a combined total of just 22,720 tickets spread across three group games.

The allocation is made up of 5,760 for the Poland opener on June 12 in Nice, 9,280 for the Ukraine match on June 16 in Lyon, and 7,680 for the Germany clash on June 21 at the Parc des Princes in Paris.

But 14 of the other 23 competing countries received more tickets than Northern Ireland, it has emerged.

The 300-1 outsiders Albania, in their first ever major tournament, have bagged a bumper 26,080 tickets - despite only a couple of thousand fans from the 2.8 million-population country expected to travel to France.

Long-shots and tournament debutants Iceland, with a population of just 300,000, have been given 30,240 tickets.

Romania and Ukraine have 29,760 and 28,000 tickets respectively. England, meanwhile, landed just 23,520 tickets.

The ticket farce happened as Uefa insisted - against fans' wishes - on allocating games to stadiums before the competing teams were decided by the draw, which left Northern Ireland playing in smaller stadiums and other teams in bigger grounds.

Just 16% of each stadium's capacity is sold to fans of each competing team via their football association.

Uefa has slashed allocations for fans of each competing team - which used to be 20% as recently as Euro 2008.

Hosts France top the Euro 2016 ticket table with 31,520 seats - 50% more than Northern Ireland's allocation.

Kevin Miles, chief executive of the Football Supporters' Federation said: "Ticket allocations have been based on the stadium chosen for each game - which was decided before the draw -and not on size of population or travelling support.

"It means smaller countries like Iceland do not get smaller allocations."

Uefa said: "Supporters of participating teams receive 32% of tickets, totalling 800,000 tickets.

"The general public receives 42% of tickets, totalling a million tickets."

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