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Martin O'Neill Did Not Hold Back With His Opinion Of UEFA's Organisation Of Euro 2016

Martin O'Neill Did Not Hold Back With His Opinion Of UEFA's Organisation Of Euro 2016
By Gavin Cooney Updated

UEFA, to be fair to them, probably could organise a piss-up in a brewery. But the problem with said piss-up is that there would only be one brand of carbonated urine refreshing lager on tap, and in a bid to be the most popular guy around, they'd invite too many people. The result would be some guests having all of the carbonated urine satisfying beer, whilst others would get very little. The drink token system would descend into anarchy.

Martin O'Neill has today given his opinion of UEFA's scheduling of the newly expanded 24-team extravaganza to Miguel Delaney of the Sunday Independent, and has criticised an itinerary which left his team with little time to prepare for a knockout tie with France, and even less time for Irish fans to scramble for tickets.

On the very short rest period for Ireland he said that

In tournament competition, you wouldn't believe the advantage those extra days France got to us. We played late Wednesday night, we didn't get back to our hotel until about four o'clock in the morning Thursday.

In fact, had the draw worked differently, we could have ended up playing Croatia Saturday. If anybody tells me that's fair in a competition that is supposed to be fair. UEFA are talking about fair play...

We've come into the tournament, we've given everything and I don't see that at all. I see that as an unfair advantage for a side as I can possibly remember.

While O'Neill makes a fair point, the counter-argument comes from Paul Rowan in today's Sunday Times. Rowan points out that Ireland were perhaps not fit enough to compete fully in the tournament: citing evidence that Portugal had a two-day turnaround before beating Croatia in extra-time in that game, while all of Ireland's goals were conceded in the second half of games.

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Where there is little room for argument with O'Neill's comments is in relation to the effect the tournament schedule on ticketing issues. French fans could buy tickets for their last-16 tie before the identity of their opponents were confirmed, hence the considerable outnumbering of Irish fans in the Stade de Lyon:

I think it's something that UEFA have to look at. If you look at the distribution of tickets...beyond belief. Why couldn't they leave 10 per cent out for whoever is going to qualify? And don't tell me they can't sell those in two days.

 

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UEFA admitted earlier this week that  the scheduling left Ireland at a disadvantage during the tournament.

Here's hoping that UEFA sort this out for our inevitable ascent to glory at Euro 2020.

[Sunday Independent]

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See Also: Renato Sanches Is The Centre Of A Bizarre Controversy In Portugal Over His Age

See Also: Explained: What Graziano Pelle Was Saying To Manuel Neuer Before His Penalty Miss


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