Tomorrow will be T-Day for the Green Army hoping to embark for France this summer. Uefa have indicated to the FAI that they will begin notifying Irish supporters tomorrow as to whether their applications for tickets for the group games at Euro 2016 have been successful or not.
A total of 70,482 supporters requested 275,000 tickets for Ireland’s matches through the Uefa ticket portal.
That list was then sent by Uefa to the FAI who worked through it to prioritise fans based on their support for the team, at home and away, over recent years.
The amended FAI list was, in turn, sent back to Uefa who will now begin issuing tickets to successful applicants.
In the last couple of days, there have been isolated reports of Irish supporters apprarently under the impression that money for Euro 2016 tickets has already been taken from their credit card accounts, but Uefa have assured the FAI that this is not the case.
While the FAI are confident that the majority of the team’s most loyal supporters can be accommodated for the opening game against Sweden at the 81,000 capacity Stade de France in Paris on June 13, there is almost certain to be disappointment for some fans seeking to attend the matches against Belgium at the 42,000-capacity Stade de Bordeaux on June 18 and Italy at the 50,000-capacity Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille on June 22.
In a classic case of demand outstripping supply, there are currently 32,502 tickets available across the three games to meet the Irish demand for 275,000.
But at least some of those who miss out on Uefa’s initial allocation are set to enjoy a reprieve.
European football’s governing body has already earmarked 2,000 tickets for each participating national association, and the FAI has said it intends to distribute these to supporters once the Uefa ticketing application process is complete.
Following the debacle earlier this week which saw many of Northern Ireland’s most committed supporters excluded from the initial Uefa allocation, fans in the south will be keeping a beady eye on how the FAI’s own priority list fares.
It is based in part on a loyalty system which was put in place ahead of the qualifying matches away to Gibraltar, Poland and Bosnia last year, and awards points as follows: 70 for a season ticket purchased each season from 2012/13; 10 points for every home match attended since 2012/12 season; and 20 points for every away match attended since September 2012.
Meanwhile, Ireland midfielder James McCarthy has been hailed by Everton manager Roberto Martinez as the team’s unsung hero after his return to the side sparked a turnaround in their fortunes.
McCarthy missed 12 games with a groin problem, but, since returning, Everton have won their last three matches 3-0, against Carlisle United in the FA Cup and Newcastle United and Stoke City in the Premier League.
Martinez, who signed McCarthy for both Wigan and Everton, said: “The amount of games he has played for Everton now means he has become a player who knows what to expect and who can create those partnerships which are so important, on and off the ball.
“As a manager he gives you a really good balance in any team you put out there. It’s important that you look at stats, and the stats never lie.
“Since he came off at Bournemouth with an injury there has been a different outcome in the way we have defended.
“That doesn’t mean anything apart from that James is a very, very important player for us. Probably he is the type of player you don’t notice when he is there. You only miss him when he is not on the pitch.”
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