Tickets sell out for Ireland’s clash with Gibraltar after huge delays
Home section tickets were removed from online sales to prevent Irish fans from buying
A view of the Victoria Stadium in GIbraltar where Ireland will open their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign in March. Photo: Getty Images
Tickets for Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Gibraltar on March 23rd have sold out after the Gibraltar FA were forced to stop online sales to prevent Ireland fans from buying them.
Ireland’s opening Group D opponents have been allowed to host the match at the Victoria Ground in the British territory in the south of Spain, despite previously playing Ireland in Faro in 2014 due to concerns that the stadium is not equipped.
With a capacity of just 2,300, the FAI were allocated 900 tickets for what will be Mick McCarthy’s first competitive match of his new Ireland tenure and the remaining 1,400 went on sale to Gibraltar fans on Monday.
However, due to concerns that Irish fans were buying tickets for the home section, the Gibraltar FA stopped the online sales and announced that tickets would only be available exclusively from the GFA’s store in Gibraltar to people with proof of residence in the area.
A GFA statement read: “The demand far exceeds the allocation, and therefore, had we allowed the sale of tickets to be effected online, there was a real risk that these would be purchased by Irish supporters who missed out on the away section allocation.
“To protect the interests of the local supporter, and to ensure that as many Gibraltarians as possible had the chance to purchase a ticket, we took the cautious method of removing the online system and selling them from our official shop in Irish Town, and requesting documentation of residence in Gibraltar. This is particularly relevant in the absence in our system of any secure “geo-blocking” technology that would ensure fans living in Gibraltar had priority on tickets at all times.”
The change led to queues of up to three hours before all tickets sold out and the GFA described the situation as “entirely unacceptable and not a scene we want repeated” ahead of their next home competitive match against Denmark in September.