FA defends Poland position

The FA insists it has handed Poland an 18,000 ticket allocation for Tuesday's encounter with England for security reasons.

Last Updated: 14/10/13 at 18:58 Post Comment   

Poland fans standing for the national anthem

Poland fans standing for the national anthem

Roy Hodgson is sure England supporters will not be drowned out by their Polish counterparts despite the Football Association's decision to double the away allocation for Tuesday's crunch qualifier at Wembley.

The FA drew criticism from some quarters when it revealed that it had sold 18,000 tickets to Poland fans for the World Cup qualifier.

The number is more than double the minimum required under FIFA regulations for the 90,000 capacity stadium, but the FA insists it had to do so on health and safety grounds.

With so many Poles now living in Britain, the FA decided that if it did not increase the number of away tickets available, Poles would buy tickets in the home end.

Hodgson defended the decision and said he was sure England fans would be heard during the match, which the home side need to win to qualify for the World Cup.

"I presume it will give (Poland) a lift, but there are a lot of Polish people living in this country and I understand the FA were virtually forced into this decision," the England manager said.

"They had to let the Polish FA have the tickets because otherwise there would be safety problems with the infiltration of Polish fans amongst the England fans.

"Our players are pretty used to playing in games where the opponents have good support.

"We will have 65,000 or 70,000 fans there and that, vis-a-vis 20,000 (Poland fans) is a pretty good margin for us. If our fans get behind us like they have so far then I don't fear that."

Captain Steven Gerrard has no problem with the FA's decision.

"Players want to play in good atmospheres, they want to play in full houses," the Liverpool midfielder said.

"And I have no doubt that the England fans will make an awful lot more noise than the Poland fans."

Security around the game was always likely to be tight anyway.

When Poland took on England in an Under-19s international at Crewe in March 2012, trouble flared inside the stadium.

There will be a far greater police presence on this occasion, though, and having given Poland so many tickets, the FA is confident the fixture will pass off peacefully.

"It is the biggest stadium in the country and it can cope with the capacity," FA spokesman Scott Field said.

"We think it will make for a great atmosphere.

"Wembley is often accused of not having a good atmosphere at times and I think we are set for what will be a really rousing game."


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