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Fury over Inter tickets

PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:50 03 March 2010

IPSWICH Town Football Club today declined to answer criticism by fans who are furious with the ticket allocation for the UEFA cup away tie with Inter Milan.

IPSWICH Town Football Club today declined to answer criticism by fans who are furious with the ticket allocation for the UEFA cup away tie with Inter Milan.

Dedicated supporters wanting to make their own travel arrangements claim they lost out after tickets available through Town's Portman Road offices were snapped up.

Instead callers to the Ipswich Town ticket office yesterday heard a recorded message apologising to fans after all tickets only for the Inter Milan away leg had sold out.

The message added supporters who wanted to buy a travel package - which includes a match ticket - could get in contact with the Sports Travel Management Group.

Half of the 6,000 tickets available to fans were allocated to Sports Travel Management Group, which is Ipswich Town's official travel package. Yesterday afternoon only day trips - including tickets - remained at the cost of £185.

Fans argue the deal means they don't have the freedom to arrange their own cheap flights and are forced to take this package offer if they want a ticket to the game.

Others have already organised their flights - but are now left without a match ticket.

Ipswich Town season ticket holder Paul Ross, 30, who made his own travel arrangements, is paying £130 for three nights on top of his £15 ticket. He had been trying to get a ticket for his sister Sarah, 26, who has already booked her flight.

"I was told that tickets only have been sold out. Tickets are still available now but you have got to go with the package. It is the biggest tie so far and my sister hasn't got a ticket.

"Another thing is the package deal isn't even membership guaranteed. You pay extra money to join schemes. Anyone can go on this package deal if they are happy to pay the amount. Thousands of fans are unhappy."

His sister will be going to Milan without a ticket. "She was under the impression she had got a ticket because she had proper membership," said Mr Ross. "She will join the other 1,000 going out there without a ticket which is going to cause huge problems."

Ipswich high street travel firm Thomas Cook had put on a special flight to cater for supporters but had to cancel it because of the lack of match ticket availability.

But staff pulled out stops for their clients by contacted Sport Travel Management who agreed to take over the reservation of Thomas Cook's customers and include a ticket in the day trip flight.

"We advertised a day trip and 36 people confirmed their flights but because of the lack of tickets it couldn't go ahead," said branch manager Debbie Macaulay.

"We are grateful to Sport Travel management but we wouldn't have had to cancel the flight if there were more tickets available."

UEFA rules state that the home club must provide at least 5 percent of their capacity for away supporters.

The San Siro Stadium in Milan holds nearly 86,000 people so the Portman Road club has already given the least allocation allowed.

Ipswich travel agent Jim Easter, who runs Travel Plus Sports Tours, reckoned fans could have travelled to Milan for around £150, including flights and accommodation - and ticket. But he added that the deal offered by Sport Travel Management was hard to compare because the day trip probably involved a charter flight.

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Town confirmed that 3,000 tickets had sold out by Wednesday after a priority system saw tickets sold on Monday to away match passport holders, on Tuesday to Portman Plus Gold members, and on Wednesday to season ticket holders. The rest of the tickets - the other 3,000 - went to Sports Travel Mangement, she said

She refused to discuss that the fact that fans felt let down.

N What do you think? If you have a view on the Inter Milan ticket allocation the write to Evening Star Letters, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@ecng.co.uk

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