Northern Ireland

2016 European Championships: Portal set up for Northern Ireland tickets

fans
Image caption Northern Ireland fans are angry over the allocation of tickets to EURO 2016

The Irish Football Association has said Uefa will set up a portal for Northern Ireland supporters to apply for extra European Championship tickets.

The portal, for the match against Poland, will be open to supporters on a priority list who were were informed they had missed out on Tuesday.

UEFA is to make about 1,000 extra tickets available to Northern Ireland fans.

Northern Ireland are to play Poland, Ukraine and Germany in France in June.

On Tuesday, the IFA said it was "inundated" with calls from angry Northern Ireland fans unable to purchase tickets.

Some fans who said they ranked near the top of the IFA's 'priority list' missed out on tickets for the Poland game.

Particularly affected were fans who applied for category 3 tickets, the second cheapest kind.

"We discovered there was an issue yesterday morning on this with quite a number of people finding they hadn't got tickets in category 3 for the Poland game," IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson said.

"We got straight onto Uefa and with Uefa's senior management team, we've worked through that issue now. We've identified with Uefa that there's almost another 1,000 tickets that they're going to make available for us, particularly for those fans.

"The 900 or so fans that we're talking about here will have priority access, in fact specific access, to a portal that Uefa are setting up and they should be able to buy tickets.

"We've been talking to Uefa for not quite the last 24 hours, but probably 21 of the last 24 hours over this and we're fairly confident that Uefa will manage this in the right way."

A points system had been put in place for the games to establish a priority list for tickets, favouring fans who had attended the most matches at home and abroad.

However, on Tuesday Gary McAllister from the Amalgamation of Official NI Supporters Clubs said many fans were now asking whether the loyalty scheme has been implemented correctly.

He missed out on a ticket to the Poland game, despite having 27 loyalty points out of a possible 29.

In the Republic of Ireland, fans have not yet heard if they have been successful in securing tickets.

Pessimism

Irish Times chief football writer Emmet Malone said the experience of Northern Ireland supporters has worried fans in the Republic of Ireland.

Speaking to BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme on Wednesday, Mr Malone said there was "a lot of pessimism" among Ireland fans.

"The FAI [Football Association of Ireland] is supposed to start informing people, possibly as early as this afternoon, as to who got tickets here," he said.

"But our applications were far more oversubscribed than the IFA's, so a lot of people are very concerned about what will happen."

Mr Malone said there was particular concern that the FAI's loyalty scheme was only introduced in 2015, so is it relatively new.

"The FAI have been quite vague with fan groups over requests to publish the points that everybody has, how the categories break down, who's going to be compared with who in terms of pecking order.

"That vagueness is going to lead to an awful lot of bad feeling here over the next few days."

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