Tickets for Estonia-Ireland sell out in minutes
Tickets for Estonia's crunch Euro 2012 playoff against Ireland sold out within 25 minutes Monday, as the Baltic minnows brace for the biggest game in their footballing history.
The Estonian Football Association said that all 2,000 tickets available to the general public via local Internet portal Piletilevi had been snapped up just 25 minutes after going on sale at 10:00 am (0700 GMT).
A further 1,222 were sold at Piletilevi's counters in the Baltic nation.
A total of 4,500 tickets had already been allocated to Estonia's supporters' organisations and football clubs and 1,400 to the Football Association of Ireland for travelling fans.
"As always, fans' associations and football clubs were give the opportunity to book tickets earlier in order to avoid the black market and above all to ensure that fans of the national team won't be left behind the gates," Estonian FA spokesman Mihkel Uiboleht told AFP.
The November 11 match at the 9,692-capacity A. Le Coq Arena in the capital Tallinn will be a landmark for Estonia.
By making the playoffs for next years European Championships in Poland and Ukraine, manager Tarmo Ruutli's men have ventured further in a major international competition than any other team from the nation of 1.3 million.
The online tickets could only be bought in Estonia, with each purchaser limited to four, in an effort to stop touts.
Tonu Sirel, secretary general of the Estonian FA, warned that anyone who bought a black market ticket would be disappointed on match-day.
"The ticket is property of the Estonian Football Association, and if someone who buys one violates the rules by re-selling the ticket at a higher price, we can declare it invalid," Sirel said.
Although Ireland fans do not have a troublemaker reputation, the strict sales controls are also meant to keep home and away supporters apart, a standard rule at most internationals.
"If Irish fans enter a stand not designated for them, we have the right to remove them from there, which we will do," Sirel said.
The return leg in Dublin is on November 15.
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