Belfast Telegraph

Some Northern Ireland fans get Euro ticket joy as others wait

By Stuart McKinley

Northern Ireland fans will find out this week if they will get to see their team in action in France.

Many members of the Green and White Army, who lodged a massive 50,000 applications before last month’s deadline, are already celebrating after being informed that they are among those who have been successful in securing one of the 29,000 tickets allocated to Northern Ireland. Others, however, are facing an anxious wait to see if they too will be there when Michael O’Neill’s team face Poland, Ukraine and Germany at the finals in June.

Fans began to spot payment notifications from Uefa on their credit card statements yesterday.

Others still remain in the dark over whether or not they will get their hands on a coveted match ticket.

They won't, however, have to wait long to find out whether they have been successful or not.

Irish FA spokesman Neil Brittain said: "Uefa have started the process of going through the Northern Ireland applications and taking payments.

"Those who have seen payments coming out of their account, it would seem, have got good news.

"This is an ongoing process and it is worth remembering that there were 50,000 applications from Northern Ireland fans for 29,000 tickets, so it will take a day or two to go through them all.

"Those who haven't received notifications at this stage shouldn't automatically think that they haven't been successful because the process hasn't been concluded yet.

"We have received communication from Uefa saying successful applicants will receive an email by the end of the week."

The Irish FA have already successfully lobbied Uefa for an increase in their ticket allocations.

Originally, a total of 25,000 tickets had been set aside for Northern Ireland fans - 6,000 for the opening game against Poland in Nice, 11,000 for the meeting with Ukraine in Lyon and 8,000 for the final game when Michael O'Neill will lead his team into battle with World champions Germany in Paris.

Those allocations have subsequently risen to 6,816, 12,726 and 9,516 respectively.

Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley is set to be offered a new one-year contract at West Bromwich Albion.

McAuley has become a key figure for the Baggies since joining in 2011 and although he will be 37 in December, WBA manager Tony Pulis is keen to keep the Larne man for at least another 12 months when his current deal ends in the summer.

Negotiations between player and the club have started and should they be finalised, McAuley will be one of the oldest players in the Premier League next season.

The former Coleraine star will be a big influence in central defence for Northern Ireland at the Euro 2016 finals, with many in the game believing that he will retire from international duty at the end of the tournament.

Belfast Telegraph