Irish FA president Jim Shaw says he’s “hopeful” Northern Ireland fans will be compensated for the shocking decision to ban them from the Euro 2012 qualifier in Serbia.
Uefa have ruled that the Serbia v Northern Ireland clash in March must be played behind closed doors after rioting by Serbian fans which caused their match against Italy in Genoa to be abandoned.
An Irish FA delegation met with Uefa president Michel Platini in Geneva yesterday and the association is hoping to secure £60,000 compensation for supporters who have already booked trips and so have now lost out financially.
Hundreds of Northern Ireland fans had already organised air travel to Belgrade and arranged accommodation before Uefa made their controversial ruling.
Shaw said: “Nothing has been decided yet but we put our case to Uefa and I am hopeful that we can secure compensation for fans.
“We are the innocent party in this and Uefa should recognise that. We met with Michel Platini and the people who made this decision to put our case and get our points across.
“They will now consider what we have said and I would expect a decision fairly quickly.
“The ruling is unfair on our fans and any compensation secured from Uefa would go back to them. We are arguing their case and are on their side.
“The game will go ahead behind closed doors and it’s a terrible shame because our fans have done nothing wrong.
“Our supporters are understandably frustrated but any money coming our way will go to them and no-one else.”
Shaw, who succeeded Raymond Kennedy as IFA president in November, added: “Uefa president Michel Platini always wants to meet officials from different associations and as a new IFA president I was delighted to establish contact with him and I’m sure our paths will cross again.”
Serbia had wanted Uefa to rule that the game against Italy should be replayed.
However, the Italians were awarded a 3-0 victory which puts them three points clear at the summit of qualifying Group C.
Shaw, IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson and Northern Ireland international boss Nigel Worthington will be at Windsor Park today to welcome a new sponsorship deal from Vauxhall for the Home Nations.
The deal has sparked fresh hope that the Home International tournament featuring England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland could be revived.
But the FA isn’t interested in a permanent return for England, although they are willing to consider a one-off series of games as part of their 150th anniversary in 2013.