Poland Get 18,000 Tickets For England Match At Wembley


The Football Association has defended its decision to sell 18,000 tickets to Poland fans for Tuesday's World Cup qualifier with England at Wembley.

Under FIFA rules, visiting teams are allowed 10% of the seats available in qualification matches, entitling Poland to 9,000 tickets in the 90,000 stadium.

But the FA has decided to give Poland double that amount due to a large number of Poles living in and around London, and over health and safety fears caused by away fans buying tickets in the home section.

"The FA, working with the Polish FA, have provided 18,000 tickets to Polish supporters," an FA spokesman said.

"With high demand for tickets from the large Polish community in England the FA took the decision, based on safety grounds, to ensure Polish fans were allocated space in a specific area of the ground rather than attempting to buy tickets in home areas.

"Tickets in the home areas have been restricted to previous buyers only, with no tickets now remaining for this fixture.

"This is the same process that was employed for the successful Scotland and Republic of Ireland fixtures earlier this year."

It is understood that the FA took the decision to double the Polish allowance in consultation with the police.

Poland have not played at Wembley since a 1999 Euro 2000 qualifier, when Paul Scholes hit a hat-trick in a 3-1 England win.

Scholes hits his first of three against the Poles in March 1999

England left-back Leighton Baines welcomed the move and hoped the atmosphere would be as vibrant as Ghana's visit to the capital in 2011.

"If it adds to the atmosphere, it is great," the Everton defender said. "I remember when we played Ghana - and I don't know how many there were there - they were amazing and it just made it better.

"If these away fans add to the atmosphere the home fans are going to produce, then it just adds to the occasion."

England must win their final Group H match to qualify for Brazil 2014. The nervy November playoffs await otherwise.

Poland are already out of the running for qualification following defeat to Ukraine on Friday and Baines concedes the visitors could be given a slight lift by the presence of so many of their own fans.

"It could work in that manner, but to put a more positive spin on it you'd rather play in a stadium with a good atmosphere rather than it be a half-empty stadium," the 28-year-old said.

"It is not the norm. When we go out at Goodison Park normally we see a certain section for the away fans and the rest is for the home fans."