FAI pull offending ticket page that treated northern Republic fans as ‘non-Irish'

Republic of Ireland's James McClean (right) celebrates scoring his side's second goal with team-mate Stephen Ward at Sunday's 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying clash in Moldova. Picture by Adam Davy, Press Association
Paul Ainsworth

THE FAI has pulled an online ticket page that forced Republic of Ireland fans from the north to register on the site as non-Irish.

An online ticket registration section on the FAI website allowed fans to register their interest for tickets for upcoming FIFA World Cup qualifying matches.

However after registering their country as Ireland, they had to further select from a list of counties but as they contained just the 26 of the Republic northern fans had no option but to change their country to UK.

Angry fans hit out at the blunder with one saying it appeared “the FAI don’t see us as Irish”.

Northern players on the current Republic line-up include Derry players James McClean and Shane Duffy.

After the Irish News raised the issue with the footballing body – as fans rushed for tickets following the Republic’s 3-1 win over Moldova on Sunday – the FAI took the webpage down.

Now fans wishing to attend games, including next month’s clash with Austria, are directed to a new registration portal.

An FAI spokesman said the previous page was set-up originally to accommodate Polish fans ahead of the Republic’s match with Poland in 2015.

“The page was never taken down, but it has now been deleted,” the spokesman added.

The correction was welcomed by Paul Loughran of the West Belfast Ireland Supporters Club, whose group is listed as hailing from ‘Ireland’ on the FAI site.

“I would very much welcome this and would praise the FAI for dealing with this matter so swiftly.”

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