Wednesday, October 21, 2009

French running scared of Irish support

The French Football Federation (FFF) have struck a blow to hopes of Ireland fans after restricting the away side's allocation to 8000 for the second leg of the World Cup play-off in the Stade de France.

The French are running scared of a potential Irish invasion of Paris.In 2004 Ireland were backed by a 30,000 strong support as they held France to a 0-0 draw in a World Cup qualifier in Paris.

Ireland were able to draw such a large contingent of fans into the stadium as match tickets were available online or by telephone and they were snapped up by the Green Army.

But it seems the French have learned their lesson and the tickets will only be available to buy in person.

Ireland host France at Croke Park in Dublin first before the return leg at the Stade de France four days later to decide which of the two teams qualifies for South Africa.

France coach Raymond Domenech, with bitter memories of 2004 when the huge Irish turned up and outsang their French hosts, demanded on Monday that Ireland be limited to a quarter of the total 80,000 available tickets for the Stade de France, namely 20,000.

'We can't have the Irish having more tickets than what they should be allowed, 20,000 - with 60,000 French fans around them,' Domenech told AFP.

The French Football Federation (FFF) proved even stingier on Wednesday when they allocated just 8,000 tickets to the Irish fans.

The FFF's decision was in accordance with their ticket allocation policy during the World Cup qualifiers, although it appears they have also taken Domenech's concerns to heart.

The FFF said no tickets would be sold over the internet to either set of fans, with tickets for the 18 November match going on sale from French retail outlets on Thursday.

The FFF said in a statement: 'The Irish supporters are taken care of directly by their federation, with 10 percent of the total ticket allocation being allocated as was done for all the other World Cup qualifiers.

'There will be no sale of tickets over the internet.'

A maximum of four tickets will be available per transaction and per person and tickets, once bought, would not be transferable.

French football officials added they would be cracking down on the re-sale of tickets at the stadium but also through the internet.

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