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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 15:29 GMT 16:29 UK
NI's Euro home games are sold out
IFA president Jim Boyce
IFA president Jim Boyce says there is big support for the NI team
Irish FA president Jim Boyce says that Northern Ireland's rapidly expanding fan base demonstrates the country's need for a new stadium.

The opening Euro 2008 qualifier against Iceland at Windsor Park is five months away yet all tickets for NI's six home qualifiers in the group have been sold.

The IFA were over-subscribed for the home games and had to conduct a ballot.

"People are saying, where is the fan base if we have a larger stadium? I find this amazing," said Boyce.

"We are having to disappoint at least 2,500 people who wanted to see these qualifiers as we haven't got the seats.

"These matches are all sold out. This once again proves that Northern Ireland are on the up and up with demand before the matches start taking place."

Boyce added that his personal preference would have been for a stadium in Belfast and not the former Maze Prison site which is being advocated by the government.

However, Boyce and his IFA colleagues have already taken an official decision to support, "in principle", the government's plan to house the proposed stadium at the Maze.

"Northern Ireland football has to move forward. We need a new modern, ultra-purpose stadium.

"Whatever happens I hope the fans get behind us as there are an awful lot of people who want to see Northern Ireland play."

The recent home friendly against Estonia was also a sell-out and Boyce added: "I could have stood on the street and not been able to give tickets away for this game three or four years ago."



SEE ALSO
IFA decision 'keeps options open'
20 Jan 06 |  Northern Ireland
IFA 'backs Maze stadium' proposal
20 Jan 06 |  Northern Ireland
Ormeau stadium study 'now ready'
18 Jan 06 |  Northern Ireland
Wells wants backing for Maze plan
18 Jan 06 |  Northern Ireland
Rivals to Maze stadium dismissed
16 Nov 05 |  Northern Ireland
Bigger stadium is planned for NI
20 Sep 05 |  Northern Ireland


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