Football: FA anger at ticket share for France 98

THE Football Association last night promised to do "everything in its power" to obtain more World Cup tickets for England fans after disappointing distributions were announced.

The FA reacted with "dismay and astonishment" as it learned of the smaller than expected allocation of tickets for the group matches in France. England will receive only 9,128 tickets from a total number of 138,000 for the three group games to distribute via the 27,000-strong official England Travel Club. For the match in Marseilles against Tunisia, (capacity 60,000), 3,790 tickets are available; against Romania in Toulouse (capacity 37,000) 2,749 tickets; against Colombia in Lens (capacity 41,000) 2,589 tickets have been allocated.

It had been hoped that 150,000 extra tickets being made available by Fifa, world football's ruling body, would increase those numbers significantly. But the FA's director of external affairs, David Davies, revealed only a few hundred more tickets at most would be given to England.

"We feel this cannot be the final allocation," Davies said. "We have been told unofficially there will be up to 150,000 extra tickets to be shared around the participating countries in the early rounds. But in our case our understanding is that those allocations will be increased by only a few hundred."

Scotland will have about 5,000 tickets for their opening match against the holders, Brazil, on 10 June at the new Stade de France, but they will only receive 2,000 for each of their two other group matches, against Norway, in Bordeaux on 16 June, and against Morocco, in St-Etienne on 23 June.

l The Liverpool and England striker Robbie Fowler he will be out for at least six months with the knee injury he suffered on Monday in the derby against Everton. Doctors found he had torn his cruciate ligament as well as the medial. His knee will be in a cast for three months.

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