Published: Thu, 21 January 2016
MEP for Ireland South and leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament, Seán Kelly, has criticised UEFA – European soccer’s governing body – for the amount of tickets that have been allocated to Ireland for the Euro 2016 group games.
Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg today (Thursday), the former GAA President said: “it is unacceptable that such a miniscule allocation of tickets has been given to the actual supporters of the teams. We now have a situation in which the loyal Irish fans will not be able to get tickets for these crucial games having spent their hard earned money following our team around the globe for years”
Ireland have been allocated 26,000 tickets for the three group-stage games of this summer’s competition, with half of this allocation being for Ireland’s opening game against Sweden on June 13. Allocations of 6,000 and 7,000 tickets have been provided for the following games against Belgium and Italy respectively.
Kerry MEP Kelly noted that this ticketing policy will merely give neutral opportunists the chance to make a massive profit by selling their tickets to travelling Irish supporters.
“We know from the tournaments of the past in Germany, Italy, USA, Korea – Japan, Poland – Ukraine, that Irish supporters will travel with or without tickets”.
“We will now have a situation in which our fans and the fans of the other teams desperate to get into the stadium will end up being forced to pay extortionate amounts for tickets on the buy-and-sell market. UEFA, as unfortunately is now often the case, have not logically thought through their plans”
The majority of the 275,000 Irish fans have applied for tickets will end up being unsuccessful in their applications. UEFA plans to inform applications whether or not they have been successful by February 29th at the latest. Mr. Kelly has called on UEFA to revise the allocations in advance of this deadline.
“I hope that a solution is found to this issue – our fans promote Ireland around the world and my colleagues in Parliament regularly tell me that the Irish fans are the best fans in the world. It is important they have the chance to support the team”
“There is an easy and fair solution available to UEFA – increase the allocations of tickets for the actual supporters of teams playing in the matches. I call on UEFA to take action to rectify their mistake, and I’m confident that I would get a strong majority of support for this request were I to put it to my colleagues in the European Parliament”, he concluded.