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SBD Global/October 15, 2013/International Football
English FA Cites 'Safety Concerns' For Doubling Poland's Away Ticket Allocation For Qualifier
Published October 15, 2013
FA'S DEFENSE: The PA's Simon Stone reported the FA insisted that "it has opted to hand Poland an enormous 18,000 ticket allocation" for security reasons. FA Communications Dir Scott Field said, "From the very start the interest from Polish fans was absolutely vast. We had great demand for tickets from them and what we needed to ensure with our strategy was that Polish fans didn't have the opportunity to buy in the home ends." Security around the game "was always likely to be tight anyway." There "will be a far greater police presence on this occasion though." Having given Poland so many tickets, the FA "is confident the fixture will pass off peacefully" (PA, 10/14). In London, Sam Wallace reported the Polish fans "are expected to be accommodated in the East Stand, the area of the stadium ordinarily used for away fans, with segregation in place." The FA believes that the away support "will contribute to the atmosphere on the night, and says that bigger allocations were given to away supporters for the friendlies against Republic of Ireland and Scotland this year" (INDEPENDENT, 10/14). BLOOMBERG's Ben Priechenfried reported England coach Roy Hodgson said the decision could “lift” Poland, but that his players "would not be fazed." Hodgson: "Our players are used to playing in games where there is support for the opponents. Seventy thousand fans versus 20,000 is a good margin." Former Scotland striker Alan Brazil "had criticized the increase in the Polish ticket allocation as potentially helping England’s opponents in a vital game." Brazil: "Poland can’t qualify so why are we giving this kind of boost?" England defender Leighton Baines said, "If away fans add to the atmosphere the home fans produce, it just adds to the occasion. You’d rather play in a stadium with a good atmosphere, rather than it be a half-empty stadium" (BLOOMBERG, 10/14).