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IFA slam fans' plans for Aviva boycott

Association defends decision to require fans to travel to Carling Nations Cup on official buses costing £30 per person.

Image: ©INPHO/Presseye/Darren Kidd

THE IRISH FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION (IFA) has responded angrily to supporters who have called for a boycott of Northern Ireland’s remaining Carling Nations Cup fixtures.

Yesterday, the Amalgamation of Northern Ireland Supporters Club asked fans not to travel to Dublin’s Aviva Stadium for the forthcoming games against the Republic of Ireland and Wales in protest at what they deem to be unfair travel restrictions.

A small number of Northern Irish fans were involved in minor incidents during the first round of games in February, prompting organisers to require that all supporters travel to and from this month’s games via official buses at a cost of £30 per person.

“We are calling on our members not to attend the games,” said fans’ spokesman Gary McAllister. ”We feel that the restrictions that have been placed on us have been very badly handled.”

The move was criticised by the IFA in an official statement issued yesterday, with the Association saying that it was “disappointed” by the supporters’ reaction to what it feels are legitimate security measures.

“The Irish FA would like to reconfirm that the decision to link tickets with organised transport was taken in the interest of safety and security for our fans and in consultation with the PSNI and Garda.”

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The IFA also defended the high cost of the official transportation, saying that “the transport fee of £30 per person was based on a large requirement of coaches, but now that these are not required, the Association will be meeting tomorrow to review the whole position.”

“Should there be any changes these will be communicated to all block bookers/NI fans members.”

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Niall Kelly

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