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Page last updated at 12:18 GMT, Friday, 14 January 2011

Northern Ireland fans to attend Euro game in Serbia


Amalgamation of NI Supporters Clubs spokesman Gary McAllister is happy with Uefa's decision to allow 200 NI fans to watch the Euro 2012 qualifier in Serbia

Two hundred Northern Ireland fans will be permitted to watch the Euro 2012 qualifier in Serbia in March.

Uefa ordered the game to be played behind closed doors after rioting by Serbian fans caused their qualifier against Italy in Genoa to be abandoned.

The Irish FA protested and Uefa will now allow NI fans, who booked their trip before Serbia were punished, to attend the Group C match on 25 March.

Those who decide not to travel will be offered a Europa League final ticket.

The complimentary tickets to the decider at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin are a "goodwill gesture" from Uefa.

The decision to permit a small number of NI supporters to attend the qualifier followed a meeting on Wednesday, chaired by Uefa president Michel Platini, involving the IFA, Amalgamation of Northern Ireland Supporters Clubs and senior Uefa officials.

Before the meeting the IFA said it wanted £60,000 compensation from Uefa after the decision to play the game behind closed doors.

Uefa awarded Italy a 3-0 win over Serbia after their qualifier in Genoa on 12 October was abandoned.

We have to work very closely with the IFA and Uefa to manage this situation.
Amalgamation of NI Supporters Clubs spokesman Gary McAllister

The match was stopped after six minutes as Serbia fans threw missiles and fireworks on to the pitch.

In addition to playing their match with Northern Ireland behind closed doors, Serbia face a suspended sanction over a second match.

Italy were also punished as the governing body hit them with a suspended one-match stadium ban.

"This is a limited number of 200 people and will be under very strict conditions," said Amalgamation of Northern Ireland Supporters Clubs spokesman Gary McAllister.

"We have to work very closely with the IFA and Uefa to manage this situation.

"There was a total of around £60,000 spent on air fares alone. We worked hard to make sure those people were treated fairly.

"Obviously there will be fans who wanted to get to the game but unfortunately the reality of it is that if there had been any greater number of fans that had booked then original conditions would have stood and no fans would be admitted.

"Uefa couldn't pay compensation as this sets a dangerous precedent, for example, had this been England the amount of money would have been much larger."

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see also
Irish FA wants Uefa compensation
12 Jan 11 |  Football
NI lobby Uefa over Serbia fan ban
03 Nov 10 |  Football
Uefa hands Italy default victory
29 Oct 10 |  Football
Serbia set to ask Uefa for replay
15 Oct 10 |  Football
Serbian football's hooligan issue
15 Oct 10 |  Europe
Serbia holds 19 football suspects
14 Oct 10 |  Europe
NI fans warned over Serbia match
14 Oct 10 |  Northern Ireland
Uefa probes Serbia fan violence
13 Oct 10 |  Football
IFA awaits Uefa verdict on Serbia
13 Oct 10 |  Football
Outrage in Serbia at football riots
13 Oct 10 |  Europe
Italy v Serbia photos
13 Oct 10 |  Football
Euro 2012 qualifying tables
07 Sep 11 |  Football
Euro 2012 qualifiers as it happened
12 Oct 10 |  Football

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