22/05/2007

NI Euro qualifier to be played in Gran Canaria

Northern Ireland fans that hoped to travel to Spain for the crucial 2008 qualifier are facing difficulties as the match will now be played in Gran Canaria.

A large number of the ‘Green and White Army’ have already booked flights to major airports in Spain, and have been told by Spanish authorities that the 21 November game will be held in the 32,000-seat arena in Las Palmas.

Gary McAllister, the spokesman for the Amalgamation of Official Northern Ireland Supporters’ Club, said fans are growing increasingly frustrated, as flights to the island seem to be sold out already.

Mr McAllister said that several thousand fans had planned to travel to the match, and their travel plans may be hampered.

He told the BBC: “Firstly a number of fans had booked to mainland Spain hoping they could get connecting flights or travel by rail or road,

“I know that a number of fans have found it very, very difficult trying to get even a package deal – what flights that were available have been snapped up.”

The prices of flights are now increasing due to demand, Mr McAllister said.

“Obviously with the demand – that has pushed the price of the flights up and a lot of people will be priced out of it.”

He said fans may now have to rely on planes specially chartered for the game.

Northern Ireland are currently top of their Euro 2008 qualifying group, and beat Spain 3-2 at Windsor Park last September.

(JM/SP)

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