FA stand by decision to increase Poland allocation for England fixture

The Football Association has been criticised for increasing the away allocation for England’s World Cup qualification match against Poland at Wembley, the Daily Telegraph reports, but the governing body is standing by the decision.

There will be 18,000 Poland supporters in the national stadium, 10,000 more visiting fans than is required by UEFA regulations, after the FA sold extra tickets to their Poland counterparts.

The Telegraph claims that the FA did so with the intention of clawing as much income from the match as possible, after the £757m cost of rebuilding Wembley, amid fears the match would not be a sell-out. There was also the danger of the large Polish community in England buying tickets to sit among the home fans, which could lead to problems in a febrile atmosphere; making more tickets available in the away section is seen as a solution to both concerns.

FA spokesman Scott Field 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.

Poland striker Robert Lewandowski has also spoken of the support the visitors are likely to receive. “We’re very aware that we’ll have huge support there from a great number of our fans who we hear are going to the game,” he said. “We might not have any chance of getting through to the World Cup finals now, but we’ll be playing for our pride and we feel we owe our fans to give them something to cheer about again at Wembley.

Qualification for the World Cup is between England and Ukraine, with Roy Hodgson’s side needing to beat Poland to be sure of an automatic place in Brazil. Ukraine meet San Marino, with the runners-up in Group H bound for the play-offs.

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