Delaney: Europa final will be sellout

ALTHOUGH the absence of Liverpool and Manchester City means the economic spin-off from Dublin’s hosting of the Europa League final might not be as great as was first hoped, FAI chief executive John Delaney says that game at the Aviva Stadium on May 18 will definitely be a sellout.

“If Liverpool or Man City had got to the final, there would have been a huge influx of fans,” he said.

“We have seen that before when Rangers came down to Manchester and when Celtic played Porto. But, that said, we have four big teams in Porto, Benfica, Villarreal and Braga. All four of the clubs have told us they will take their 12,000 ticket allocation at least, some want more. The game will be sold out, there is no question about that.”

For security reasons, capacity on May 18 will be marginally cut to 47,000, of which some 10,000 seats are expected to be taken up by Irish ticket-holders.

Said the FAI boss: “We’ve sold 7,000 from a 21,000 application and the association has about 3,000 tickets for the grassroots, so that’s 10,000. And then there will be about 35,000 travelling fans between what we have sold directly and the balloting system. All the guys in the semi-finals met our project team, and Porto and Benfica were very keen and said they would take well over 12,000 tickets, and Villarreal the same. I think Braga said they would take 12,000 tickets. That said, if we were in a case where certain clubs didn’t take their full allocation, we have a waiting list that we are holding onto for people disappointed at not getting tickets through the Irish ballot.”

The Europa League trophy, — at 15kg, the heaviest UEFA silverware — was handed over by last year’s winners Atletico Madrid to the city of Dublin yesterday and now goes ‘on tour’ in the capital. From April 26 to 28 it will be on show at the GPO and after that at Dublin City Hall (April 30 and May 7), the Central Library and ILAC Centre (May 9 to 15) and Dublin City Hall (16). Entry is free. Full details at www.fai.ie and www.dublincity.ie

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