Northern Ireland

Euro 2016: UEFA to give NI fans more tickets after allocation complaints

Patrick Nelson
Image caption IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson is appearing before the Culture committee to give evidence about the Euro 2016 ticketing process

UEFA has agreed to give more Euro 2016 tickets to Northern Ireland fans after complaints about the original allocation process, a Stormont committee has heard.

The chief executive of the Irish Football Association (IFA), Patrick Nelson, is giving evidence to the DCAL committee.

He said 93 more tickets will be allocated for the Germany game.

There will also be an extra 505 tickets for the Ukraine match.

This is on top of the extra 1,276 tickets announced last week for the Poland game. Some lifelong supporters missed out when UEFA allocated the tickets last week.

Mr Nelson said the IFA had been pressing for more tickets for Northern Ireland fans, and said the new tickets will be "a complete selection of categories", adding "some of them are going to be more expensive but some are going to be cheaper as well".

'Highest level'

He also told the committee that the IFA had previously agreed a priority allocation system that meant "anyone with top priority - 17 points or more should have got a ticket," but there had been "quite a small, inadvertent error by UEFA" that meant people "well in excess of 17 points" did not get tickets.

Image caption Northern Ireland fans were angry after many of them missed out during the initial allocation of tickets to Euro 2016

He said once the problem had been noticed they contacted UEFA "at the highest level" and "within three hours agreed to supply enough tickets to address the immediate matter".

The IFA president Jim Shaw said the allocation process was by an automated computer system, adding: "In a different world, we would have been allocating tickets from top to bottom probably ourselves and would have had total control.

"We've made a good recovery, I think, but they (UEFA) will insist on all ticketing coming from that system."

Last Wednesday, the IFA announced a portal would be created for Northern Ireland supporters to apply for extra tickets.

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

The Department of Culture, Leisure and Arts (DCAL) committee hearing is available to watch on Stormont Live here.

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