By Bill George
FAI OFFICERS do not expect all 42,000 seats in the stadium in Suwon in South Korea where Ireland play Spain on Sunday for a place in the quarter finals of the World Cup to be filled.
The departure of thousands of fans after the three qualifying games in Japan means the Irish do not expect the same level of support that helped make their games in Japan so memorable.
The FAI general secretary, Mr. Brendan Menton, said yesterday they were entitled under FIFA rules to 3,200 tickets for the match, 8% of the available seats. The FAI already had pre booked 1,000 tickets before they qualified for the last sixteen on Tuesday and they proposed to secure another 1,000 from FIFA today.
“We are getting calls from fans seeking tickets” he said, “but my understanding is that tickets are going on public sale at the FIFA outlets through KAWOC in Korea tomorrow.
“They are probably going to be also available on the internet and my advice to fans who are still without tickets is to get them through the internet or, if they have already travelled, to secure them at the FIFA offices.”
Said Mr Menton: “We anticipated 7,000 fans for the matches in Japan, but there were probably between 10,000 and 12,000 at the games. We don’t reckon it’s going to be that high here, maybe 5,000, we simply don’t know.
“If fans are travelling my advice would be to get on the internet buy tickets, get tickets wherever they can, there will be very few tickets available through the FAI for sale to the public.”