February 6, 2019 / 1:00 PM / 5 months ago

Gibraltar pulls plug on online ticket sales to foil Irish

FILE PHOTO: Gibraltar fans at Philip II Arena, Skopje, Macedonia - November 19, 2018. REUTERS/Ognen Teofilovski

(Reuters) - Gibraltar’s Football Association pulled the plug on their online ticket sales system, to prevent Irish soccer fans swamping the British Overseas Territory for next month’s Euro 2020 Group D qualifier.

The move resulted this week in queues of more than three hours for locals seeking tickets for the March 23 clash.

The GFA said the absence of any “geo-blocking” technology in their system meant they had been unable to prevent Irish fans from snapping up tickets.

Therefore, they were forced to restrict sales to on-site visitors at their 2,300-capacity Victoria Stadium, where the match will take place, to ensure Gibraltans — with proof of residency — were prioritised.

Apologising for the queues their ‘lo-tech’ solution caused, the Gibraltan FA said it would offer free tickets to a friendly match against Estonia on March 26 as a gesture. They also said the entire ticketing process will be reviewed before the qualifier against Denmark later this year.

Nine hundred Irish fans are expected at next month’s clash which will be Mick McCarthy’s first competitive match of his new Ireland tenure.

Euro 2020 will feature 24 of Europe’s top teams next June and July. Qualification will take place between March and November 2019.

Editing by Christian Radnedge

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