Ulster Rugby fans raging over tickets 'snub' for Heineken Cup clash
Ulster Rugby fans are furious about missing out on tickets for the province's biggest clash of the season after none went on general sale.
Supporters looking forward to the crunch Heineken Cup quarter-final against Saracens at Ravenhill on Saturday, April 5 were expecting tickets to go on sale today.
But their hopes were dashed after a statement on the official website informed fans not a single ticket would be be sold to the general public – even though Ravenhill will have an increased capacity of 17,000.
A breakdown on the website said that 8,850 had already gone to Ulster season ticket holders and Ulster supporters' groups.
A further 1,000 were sold to new season ticket holders for 2014-15. Saracens have taken their full allocation of a quarter of all seats, and a further 3,000 tickets will go to the competition organisers and contracted sponsors.
All of that means that many ordinary fans hoping to attend the big game have been left disappointed.
Following the announcement, Ulster Rugby's social media sites were inundated with messages from angry fans.
Peter Lowry, a student who had booked flights to return home for the game, said: "Countless students throughout Britain travel to away games and even home games. But despite this extensive financial outlay, those fans pretty much have no hope of being at the quarter-finals."
Clive McLaughlin wrote: "Cheers Ulster. You only want fans who have money. I'd love to buy a season ticket, but I've a wife and kid to keep. I haven't missed a game on telly for three years – but Ulster just want the cash."
David Gourley added: "Absolutely raging that not a single ticket was released to the general public. I fully understand season ticket holders getting preference, but three options and 3,000 tickets to sponsors is very unfair."
A spokesperson for Ulster Rugby said supporters had been given plenty of notice about the criteria for getting tickets since the draw was made.
He said they had been made aware that a general sale would only occur if tickets were not taken up.
"I'm more than disappointed that Ulster Rugby have left it so late to tell us there will be no tickets for those of us who aren't season ticket holders."
- Roy Ferguson, Rathfriland
"Deservedly first shout goes to season ticket holders, but 3,000 to sponsors in a ground of 17,000?! Come on..."
- Jonathan Drennan, TCD
"Not a season ticket holder as I live in Scotland, but have planned to go home for that weekend. Very disappointing!"
- Jan Holmes, Larne