Euro Football

Ireland to find out venue for Euro 2020 opener against Gibraltar early next week


The FAI are operating on the basis that the match will take place in the 2,300-capacity Victoria Stadium. Photo: AFP/Getty Images

Ger Keville

Ireland will find out the venue for their opening match of the Euro 2020 qualifying campaign against Gibraltar early next week.

Mick McCarthy’s first game back in charge of the Boys In Green had been pencilled in for Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar on March 23 but a change of venue to Faro – where Ireland last played Gibraltar in 2015 – has been mooted after UEFA stepped in.

Victoria Stadium, with a capacity of just over 2,000, falls short of UEFA criteria although special dispensation was granted for Gibraltar to host their Nations League games there.

Gibraltar have been instructed by the European football governing body to upgrade certain parts of Victoria Stadium or risk having to move the match to Faro.

The Gibraltar FA maintain that “nothing has changed” and are adamant the Group D clash will go ahead as planned in their own country.

While confirmation was expected this week, the deadline has been extended with an official announcement due early next week.

A switch of venue to the 30,000-capacity Estádio Algarve in Faro would mean more tickets for Ireland fans who received just 800 for Victoria Stadium but will cause travel chaos as many have already booked routes to Gibraltar.

Should Gibraltar fail to meet UEFA standards, those fans would have to make new plans or face an 800km round trip from Gibraltar to Faro.

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