The Gibraltar Football Association (GFA) has apologized for the delays experienced by fans queuing up for tickets today outside their Irish Town offices.
The GFA has explained the reasons behind the decision to sell the tickets from their offices directly to supporters and has promised to review the sales procedures. It has also announced that entry to the next friendly match - against Estonia - will be free.
A spokesperson said: “The tickets for the EURO Qualifier match on 23rd March 2019 at the Victoria Stadium went on sale today and the GFA would like to thank all those fans who queued for tickets.
“Regrettably we are aware that, in some cases, there were queuing times in excess of three hours, which is of course entirely unacceptable and not a scene we want repeated.
“The GFA wholeheartedly apologizes for this, and would like to shed some light on why the current system was put in place for this match.
- As a condition of allowing Gibraltar to play its home matches in the Victoria Stadium, UEFA instructed the GFA to allocate a large portion of tickets to the Irish Football Association, in order to adequately cater for the demand of the Irish supporters (approximately 40% of the stadium capacity);
- Even so, the demand far exceeds the allocation, and therefore, had we allowed the sale of tickets to be effected online, there was a real risk that these would be purchased by Irish supporters who missed out on the away section allocation;
- To protect the interests of the local supporter, and to ensure that as many Gibraltarians as possible had the chance to purchase a ticket, we took the cautious method of removing the online system and selling them from our official shop in Irish Town, and requesting documentation of residence in Gibraltar. This is particularly relevant in the absence in our system of any secure “geo-locking” technology that would ensure fans living in Gibraltar had priority on tickets at all times.
“Admittedly, the sales procedure we finally implemented has taken much longer than what we had anticipated, and the GFA extends its sincerest apologies for this. The intention was always to protect local supporters, and not subject them to the long delays experienced today.
“We will review the entire process in time for the next home competitive match versus Denmark on the 5th September, and will ensure there is no repeat of today’s delays. The review will include the launch of a Gibraltar FA Supporters Club scheme that will prioritize loyal supporters and will allow the GFA to better control ticket sale procedures in future.
“Finally, and as a gesture of gratitude, the GFA can announce that entry for the official friendly match versus Estonia on 26th March will be free of charge. Further information on ticket collection for this friendly match will be released in due course.”