Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland fans get bittersweet news over Euro 2016 tickets

By Stuart McKinley

Northern Ireland will be roared on by their biggest away support ever outside of the UK when they face Ukraine in next summer's Euro 2016 finals.

There is, however, potential disappointment for thousands of fans when Michael O'Neill's team face Poland and Germany in their other group games in France.

Uefa have confirmed to the Irish FA that they will be given an allocation of 11,000 tickets for the June 16 clash in Lyon's 59,500 capacity Stade des Lumieres.

And that should be sufficient to meet the demands of the travelling Green and White Army, hundreds of whom have already applied for tickets via Uefa's online system since last Saturday's draw.

The number of tickets the IFA will receive for the game against Ukraine, however, is almost double the allocation given for the opening Group C fixture against Poland.

Only 6,000 Northern Ireland supporters are guaranteed to be in attendance at the Stade de Nice on Sunday, June 12, meaning many could be disappointed at not getting their hands on the much sought after match tickets.

The final group game against Germany in Paris' iconic Parc des Princes stadium will have 8,000 Northern Ireland supporters in attendance.

The Irish FA sold block booking tickets for the home Euro 2016 qualifying matches to 8,600 fans and each of them is entitled to apply for two tickets for each of the group games at the finals.

Some, however, are facing a lockout due to Uefa's restrictions on the number of tickets that are made available to the competing nations.

The tournament organisers allocate less than a third of each stadium's capacity to the competing teams.

Northern Ireland fans will get just 16 per cent of the three venues where the team will play.

The Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters Clubs was hoping to see that increased to 20 per cent, but from Uefa's initial figures at least, that will not be the case, meaning a scramble could ensue for the available tickets.

Belfast Telegraph