Tickets to Estonia-Ireland Playoff Snatched Up Within Half-Hour
17 October (BNS)
Tickets to the first match of the Estonia-Ireland playoff for Euro 2012, to be played in Tallinn on 11 November, were sold out in less than 30 minutes on Monday morning.
According to the information system of the online seller Piletilevi, all tickets to the game were sold before 10.30 a.m. Selling started at 10.00.
The Estonian Football Association said that approximately 3 500 tickets to the game were sold via the Piletilevi system during the 25 minutes. Prior to that fans' associations and clubs had booked 4 500 tickets and the Irish national association 1 400 tickets. "As usual, fans' associations and football clubs had the opportunity to book tickets earlier -- on the one hand so that the people who are supporters of the national team on a permanent basis won't be left behind the gates and on the other hand to reduce the volume of the black market," the president of the Estonian association, Aivar Pohlak, said.
On Monday, more than 2 000 tickets were sold over the internet and 1 222 at Piletilevi sales outlets. Tickets could not be bought from abroad via the internet and the number of tickets that could be bought on any one occasion was limited to four.
The Estonian Football Association said it was checking on reports that some individuals had bought a significantly bigger number of tickets. "Considering that a larger-scale speculation of this kind could only take place with tickets bought at Piletilevi, the total number of which was 1 222, we find that the number of tickets ending up on the so-called black market is not very big and the Estonian Football Association continues to be of the opinion that the low price of the ticket was not only a fair decision but also the right decision," Pohlak said.
The secretary general of the Estonian association, Tõnu Sirel, issued a warning to Irish supporters tempted to buy a black market ticket in Estonia. "The Estonian Football Association holds exclusive rights to selling tickets to the Estonia-Ireland match. The ticket is property of the Estonian Football Association, and if the person who bought it violates the rules, including by re-selling the ticket at a higher price, we have the right to declare the ticket invalid," Sirel said.
Estonia, who beat Northern Ireland twice in their qualifying group, will take on Ireland at home at the Lilleküla stadium in Tallinn in a match starting at 21.45 local time (19.45 GMT) on 11 November. The return leg will take place at the Aviva stadium in Dublin on 15 November.
The other playoffs see Turkey up against Croatia, the Czech Republic playing Montenegro, and Portugal facing Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Estonia finished 10 points behind their qualifying group winners Italy and a point clear of Serbia, whose 1-0 defeat in Slovenia ended their hopes of taking the runners-up spot.
In the latest FIFA rankings Ireland is tied with South Korea in place 29 while Estonia is ranked 58th.
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