Possible heartbreak for fans who used debit cards to apply for Euro 2016 tickets

By Grainne McGuinness

There are fears that many Irish football fans who have applied for tickets for this summer’s European Championships may be disappointed, because they applied with debit cards.

It was announced yesterday that in excess of a quarter of a million tickets have been applied for across Ireland’s three Euro 2016 group stage games.

The figure is indicative of how over-subscribed each fixture is, with Irish supporters allocated 26,000 tickets for the games.

But fears have been raised that an unknown number of these applications may be rejected because the fans used debit cards to apply.

In the FAQs on the FAI website, the fact that a credit card was needed for the applications was stated.

Under “Payment” it read (emphasis from the FAI): “At the time of application fans will be required to input card payment details. This same card will be used for payment purposes if application is successful.

Credit cards will only be accepted. No debit cards will be accepted. The credit card must have an expiry date of no earlier than Aug 2016 (08/16). UEFA will communicate the amount and date of payment attempt in advance. There will be one payment attempt for successful applicants, no exceptions. If the payment fails these tickets are released immediately and thus your application cancelled.”

However fans who didn’t read through the FAQs or terms and conditions and simply applied with a debit card were given no indication that the card they were using might invalidate their application.

Danny O’Mahony from Cork was one of those. Danny, who has an FAI account, is in a Whatsapp group of fans hoping to travel to France in the summer and says that at least half of his group used debit cards to apply.

“If you’re buying tickets, you don’t read through the conditions,” Danny said. “You just apply with your card and once it goes through, you think the application is fine.”

Ironically, Danny first applied with his credit card but it was rejected as it was due to expire before the required date. When he applied with his debit card, the system accepted his details without any problem.

Danny’s group have contacted both the FAI and UEFA. The FAI said that the issue was with UEFA and there was nothing the national body could do to resolve it.

They also said: “All communication from the FAI stipulated that credit cards were the only accepted method of payment.”

Breakingnews.ie have so far been unable to reach the FAI for comment.

Newstalk business correspondent Joseph Conroy has been trying to get clarification from UEFA, with mixed results.

They sent a statement to the station saying: "it is only credit cards that are being accepted as a form of payment.

“Even though in some countries debit cards might work, the payment process is only guaranteed if you use a credit card which can be debited with the amount required.”

They have yet to clarify if Ireland is one of the countries where “debit cards might work”.

People applying through the general sale portal still have time to try to change their details or apply afresh with a credit card. But those with an FAI account, who were supposed to get preferential access depending on how many matches they had previously attended, have no opportunity to change their applications.

By Grainne McGuinness

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