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FA defend Poland ticket allocation

ESPN staff
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The Football Association have defended their decision to allocate a bumper 18,000 tickets to Poland supporters for the crucial World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Tuesday.

England need to beat Poland to secure their place at next summer's World Cup finals, but their home advantage looks set to be diluted by the presence of a huge and inevitably vocal band of visiting supporters.

Under FIFA rules dictate visiting supporters must be allocated 10% of the stadium's capacity, which in Wembley's case would be around 9,000.

But FA spokesperson Scott Field explained: "The FA, working with the Polish FA, have provided 18,000 tickets to Polish supporters.

"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."

The weight allocation for Polish supporters comes after it emerged there were still tickets available for the Wembley World Cup qualifier as recently as last week, with FA chiefs clearly eager to ensure a sell-out for the crucial match.

England defender Leighton Baines has welcomed the decision.

"If away fans add to the atmosphere the home fans produce, it just adds to the occasion," he said.

"You'd rather play in a stadium with a good atmosphere than a half-empty stadium. I remember when we played Ghana - and I don't know how many there were there - they were amazing and it just made it better.

"If it adds to the atmosphere, it's great."

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