Poland fans to make Wembley home from home
England manager Roy Hodgson has admitted that the decision by the Football Association to double the allocation of tickets for Poland to 18,000, will lift the visiting side in Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier.
The FA admits it took the decision to increase the number of tickets because it was worried about the prospect of Polish fans buying tickets for the home end and potentially causing a security issue.
“The FA, working with the Polish FA, have provided 18,000 tickets to Polish supporters,” an FA spokesman said.
“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.”
Hodgson acknowledged that the increase would benefit the visitors, but he reminded journalists that the away fans would still be outnumbered by more than 3-1 by England supporters.
“I presume it will, and they’d prefer to play in front of 18,000 rather than none of their own fans, he said.
“We have a lot of Polish people living in this country and there would have been safety problems if those tickets hadn’t been distributed in the way the FA have. The 65,000 against 20,000 is a good margin for us. I don’t fear them.”
“From what I understand the FA were forced into it otherwise there would have been infiltration by Polish fans.”
But he added: “We’re used to playing in games where the other team have their supporters behind them.”
England left-back Leighton Baines has no problem with the FA’s move.
“If it adds to the atmosphere, it is great,” the Everton defender said.
“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 these away fans add to the atmosphere the home fans are going to produce, then it just adds to the occasion.”
England lead Group H on 19 points and will guarantee a place at Brazil 2014 if they defeat Poland. Anything less than a win will open the door for second-placed Ukraine, provided they beat unfancied San Marino in their final qualifying match.