Irish fans to get 7,000 Europa final tickets


AROUND 6,000 tickets for this season’s Europa League final at the Aviva stadium in Dublin will go on sale to Irish residents in two weeks’ time through the Uefa and FAI websites, with a further thousand expected to be earmarked for people involved in clubs and associations here before sales begin to supporters abroad in the middle of January.

Prices for the tickets, which go on sale on December 16th at 11am, have come down for the first time ever, with seats priced at €135, €105, €80 and €50 but Uefa executive committee member Michael van Praag insisted there were no concerns over whether the stadium will be full on the night.

“It’s normal that when you bring a game to a new country you speak with the people there about what you can charge for the tickets but it (the final) is always a sell out,” he said.

“We will see how many tickets we can sell to the Irish public and then there will be people elsewhere in Europe and, when the line up is decided, the fans of the two clubs.

“Our experience is that you can sell the seats for these games two or three times over.”

The Dutch official said that in future years there might well be the possibility of Dublin hosting a Super Cup final as Uefa general secretary Michel Platini has suggested that that game, which is traditionally staged in Monaco each year, be moved around and he didn’t rule out the possibility of Croke Park staging a Champions league final at some point in the future if all of the parties involved could reach agreement with regard to its availability.

Speaking at yesterday’s launch of the game at the Convention centre in Dublin, the Minister for Sport Mary Hanafin, who suggested the occasion could be worth as more than €30 million to the economy here, expressed regret that Packie Bonner had been let go by the FAI as part of their recent cost-cutting measures and said she had taken the matter up with the association’s chief executive John Delaney.

“I’m extremely disappointed,” she said. “I think Packie Bonner is a great role model. He was not only a wonderful player but a very supportive, articulate man who was able to bring the sport to young people and children all over the country. He is a wonderful role model and I believe the FAI should find a role for him.”

“I didn’t want to let anyone go,” said Delaney. “I’d like Packie back but these are the times in which we are living. Packie did very good work for the FAI over the last eight years but a lot of good people are leaving the association.”

Trapattoni, meanwhile, said he had no difficulty at all with the idea of Robbie Keane moving to North America in order to play in the MLS. The Dubliner has been linked with a number of a number of clubs in recent days, including the New England Revolution, the Portland Timbers and expansion franchise, the Vancouver Whitecaps.

“Last year I was asked about him going to Liverpool and I said it was okay for him, for me, for Ireland and for our team,” he said. “It was a good solution. Robbie is proud and he wishes to play.”