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Euro 2016: ‘Unfair’ ticket allocation for France clash irks Ireland coach

Republic of Ireland coach Martin O’Neill has attacked Euro 2016 organisers for allocating only 4,500 tickets for his country for Sunday’s crucial round-of-16 game against France.

euro 2016 Updated: Jun 26, 2016 09:54 IST
AFP
Martin O'Neill at a press conference on the eve of the match against France.
Martin O'Neill at a press conference on the eve of the match against France.(AFP)

Republic of Ireland coach Martin O’Neill has attacked Euro 2016 organisers for allocating only 4,500 tickets for his country for Sunday’s crucial round-of-16 game against France.

The Stade de Lyon has a 58,000 capacity and will be dominated by fans from the host nation for the last-16 clash.

Football Association of Ireland officials said they had to fight to get the Irish number increased from the initial 3,500. Ireland’s share has been cut from the 25,000 fans they had in Lille when they beat Italy on Wednesday.

“The ticket allocation is something I do have a gripe about,” O’Neill said.

“It’s totally disproportionate for a stadium of this size and this brilliance. For us, or any team that was going to be playing in the round of 16 here, to be allocated less than 5,000 tickets is, I think, pretty unfair, honestly.

“I’m quite sure a few gentlemen round about the place wouldn’t necessarily agree, but I think it is. It’s totally disproportionate, and not just because it’s us. It would be for any side.

“There should have been a certain allocation left aside for the side that would make it here.

“France have had that opportunity, having advanced three days before us, and so it’s going to be severely one-sided in that aspect.”

France have also had three days extra rest as they were first to qualify for the last 16 and Republic of Ireland were among the last.

“It’s upon us now, we just have to deal with it,” said O’Neill, refusing to add to his complaints.

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