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Northern Ireland Euro 2016: 400 extra tickets released for Poland opener

No extra tickets to be made available for Ukraine and Germany games

By Steven Beacom and Jonny Bell

Published 12/02/2016

Huge support: NI fans will travel in thousands to France
Huge support: NI fans will travel in thousands to France
Patrick Nelson

The IFA have said an extra 437 tickets will be released for Northern Ireland's opening Euro 2016 game against Poland.

However, there will be no more tickets made available for the Ukraine and Germany games.

The announcement was made on Friday after the Irish FA and Uefa put their differences aside in a bid to resolve the ticketing shambles.

An extra 437 tickets have been made available by Uefa following the release of 839 earlier in the week, making a total of 1,276 for the opening game - the national team's first at a major finals in 30 years.

The extra allocation means that Northern Ireland fans ranked in the top two tiers of priority, specifically in category three for the game in Nice, will have access to tickets for the game. Supporters with a weighting of 13 points or above will be able to reapply for tickets based on the number that they originally requested.

Thirteen points equates to a fan that had a block booking for the EURO 2016 qualifying campaign.

Supporters who have 13 points but who split their points with a fan who had fewer or no points will not have access to this extra allocation.

The IFA said it would work with UEFA to make sure that the priority scheme that the association had put in place is applied correctly for the top-ranked supporters that missed out on the initial allocation.

Uefa have said that they will contact supporters who qualify for the new release of tickets by the end of February.

The European governing body have said - at this stage - no more tickets will be released for the Ukraine and Germany games.

Uefa said 98% of fans who applied got tickets for the second and third group stage games with those missing out due to payment card failures, or incorrect and incomplete details.

Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson said: “I would like to thank Northern Ireland fans for their understanding over the past few days.

“With 50,000 applications for 30,000 tickets there will still inevitably be supporters who will be disappointed. However, the number one aim of the Irish Football Association throughout this process has been to reward those fans that have backed the team both home and away  with priority access to tickets.

“I believe that this extra allocation will further help us deliver on that aim and I would like to thank UEFA for their help throughout this ongoing process.”

The tickets shambles came to light on Tuesday when supporters heard if their applications for Northern Ireland’s group games  with Poland, Ukraine and Germany were successful.

Read more: Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill to sign four-year deal

Incredibly it left almost 1,000 fans, who should have received tickets under a priority system worked on by the IFA and Uefa, empty handed for Northern Ireland’s first Euro game against the Poles on June 12.

After outraged fans vented their fury, Uefa made almost an extra 1,000 tickets available to right the wrong with the IFA stating the 839 top priority fans with at least 18 priority points, who originally missed out, would be first in line for those tickets.

Read more: Northern Ireland hero Gerry Armstrong: 'Sort out our loyal fans over Euro 2016 tickets mess'

As revealed by the Belfast Telegraph yesterday, privately the IFA were fuming with Uefa believing they had messed up the IFA’s priority system and were demanding answers as to how that had happened.

Uefa, for their part, continued to publicly state that they HAD implemented the IFA’s priority system.

Read more: Northern Ireland Euro 2016 tickets 'shambles': It was them, not us - IFA blame Uefa

The IFA are in no doubt who is to blame, even if they won't come out and say it publicly, insisting that their priority scheme would have worked if applied correctly.

Yesterday afternoon in response to a series of Belfast Telegraph questions, Uefa sent us a statement.

It contained the same words as the joint statement released by them and the IFA on Tuesday night, when they were outlining that extra tickets were being made available.

Yesterday's statement read: "Uefa have confirmed that the loyalty scheme for all matches had been implemented according to the scheme provided by the IFA. However, for the match against Poland, the demand of fans with the highest priority was higher than the number of available tickets in category 3, since Uefa also reserved a certain quota for 'Follow my Team' applicants.

"Uefa are now in a position to make available extra tickets to ensure that those Northern Ireland fans at the top of the Irish FA's priority list will be able to attend the match.

"These tickets will be across all categories and those top-ranking fans who had missed out and who qualify for this new allocation will be contacted directly by Uefa towards the end of the month. We do not have any further information to provide you at this stage. For any question on this matter, we kindly ask you to contact directly the IFA."

This newspaper did exactly that, with sources inside the IFA outlining their hopes that talks with Uefa could see more tickets come the way of Northern Ireland fans.

On Friday, Republic of Ireland supporters will find out if their applications for Euro 2016 tickets are successful. There is concern amongst Republic fans that they could go through the same agony as their Northern Ireland counterparts.

Belfast Telegraph

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