NI ticket row: ‘underappreciated’ supporters cancel bus to Windsor Park

The row of the price of Northern Ireland tickets rumbles on, with one supporters club saying they didn’t run a bus to the game for the first time in more than 30 years due to fans feeling underappreciated.

Thursday, 9th September 2021, 4:22 pm
Northern Ireland fans at Windsor Park

Following Wednesday night’s 0-0 draw with Switzerland at Windsor Park, Portadown Northern Ireland Supporters Club wrote on Twitter: “For the first time in our club’s 33 year history we have regrettably taken the decision to not run a bus to a competition home fixture that we could attend.

“Members feel that their years of commitment to following ‘our wee country’ is not appreciated through the introduction of an additional membership scheme when one already existed.

“While the ever increasing prices of tickets questions is it really a game for the fans.”

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Yesterday the News Letter reported that the cheapest ticket for the category A game on Wednesday night was £52, more than double the £25 fans pay for the dearest seat at Hampden Park to watch Scotland in the same World Cup qualifying competition.

The Irish FA defended its ticket prices earlier in the week but would make no further comment as fans continue to criticise the local governing body.

Gary McAllister, chair of the Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters’ Clubs, said the cost of admission to Windsor Park had reached “tipping point”.

Shortly before kick off on Wednesday, Northern Ireland put up a post from its official Twitter account to say ‘SOLD OUT’ referring to the fact the ground had reached its 16,000 capacity for the match.

One Twitter user replied: “Yes, you definitely have sold out fans for money.”

Another replied: “The only thing you sold out was the #GAWA!! You should be ashamed of yourselves!!!”

One fan commented: “At them prices, we’d have expected to see a George Best, not a Jordan Jones. (I like Jones btw).”

Another NI fan on Twitter was more forgiving of the cost of tickets to watch Northern Ireland at Windsor Park: “After the last year and a bit, I’m happy to pay a bit extra to see the GAWA. Life is too short.

“Totally sympathise though with those who have to shell out for family of two or three.”

DUP MLA David Hilditch said he has been inundated with complaints: “The cost for a family can now be in the excess of £200 which is totally unfeasible and this significant hike in cost is outpricing dedicated supporters.”

The IFA had previously pointed out that the price of individual general sale tickets for the Switzerland match are the same as they were for Germany and Netherlands in 2018/19.

The statement said: “Looking ahead to the World Cup qualifiers in November, fans were told that the price of individual general ticket sales for Lithuania will be lower, while Italy will also be a Category A game. We are very encouraged by the uptake on the GAWA Official membership scheme which allowed members to realise a 22% reduction across a three-match bundle as well as range of other special discounts.”

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