Latest Uefa move leaves the door ajar for more tickets
Uefa have moved quickly in an attempt to solve the problem of hundreds of regular Northern Ireland fans being locked out when their team plays its first match in a major tournament for 30 years.
There was uproar from many supporters who were informed by email that they had been unsuccessful in applying for Northern Ireland's opening Euro 2016 group game against Poland in Nice on Sunday, June 12 - 30 years to the day since a 3-0 defeat to Brazil in the country's last match at a World Cup finals - despite the fact that they had registered a high number of points in the Irish FA's priority booking list.
What made matters worse was that some had lost out to other fans who have not been regular attenders at matches.
The Irish FA was inundated with calls from angry fans prompting them to release a statement which read: "Uefa are responsible for managing the ticket application process for Euro 2016.
"The Irish FA spent three months working with fans and supporters groups to create a priority list.
"It was our understanding that the priority list would be the basis for all ticket applications for Northern Ireland's group games at Euro 2016. We are currently asking Uefa how the list was applied, particularly in relation to the game against Poland in Nice," it added.
After those conversations with Uefa 1,000 extra tickets were quickly made available and fans will find out by the end of the month if they have been successful in the second round.
A further statement, released by the IFA in conjunction with Uefa, followed, which said: "Following the initial allocation of tickets to Northern Ireland fans for Uefa Euro 2016 this morning, it became clear that a number of fans who ranked near the top of the Irish FA's priority list had missed out on tickets for the game against Poland on 12th June.
"Uefa has 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.
"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."
An unhappy supporter writes...
This fiasco has left a bad taste
THE dream came true when Steven Davis hit Northern Ireland’s third goal in the 3-1 win over Greece in October — at that moment, I knew we had qualified for the Euro finals in France. But that dream now has something of a bittersweet taste for me, a committed blockbooker and away traveller of 13 years.
Going by the so-called priority scheme, my two friends and I — I’m not willing to reveal my name, such is my paranoia about securing future tickets — should have 21 points apiece. More than enough, we thought, to guarantee us entry to all three of Northern Ireland’s group games this summer.
Instead, two of us have missed out altogether on the game against Poland in Nice and one has been upgraded to another category for the clash with Germany in Paris.
The news that 1,000 extra tickets will be released for Nice is welcome — but we shouldn’t be in this situation and they MUST be allocated to those with the highest priority points who missed out.
The three of us may have been successful for Ukraine in Lyon, but we’ll be split up for the other two games — providing the 1,000 extra tickets cover us. A real dampener on the trip of a lifetime.