Euro 2004's organising committee made a swift decision after yesterday's draw to move England's Group B match against Croatia on 21 June from Coimbra, whose ground has a capacity of 30,000, to Benfica's Stadium of Light, which holds 62,000. The unusual move has been deemed necessary because Uefa, European football's governing body, says the game is "high risk".
"We can't risk having more fans outside the stadium than inside," Gilberto Madail, the president of the Portuguese FA, said. In conceding that possibility, Madail was also admitting that next summer's tournament has the potential to be a touts' heaven.
However, ticket demand for nations with a large travelling support will massively outstrip supplies regulated by Uefa. Partly for that reason, Germany's group meeting with the Netherlands has also been moved from the Aveiro (capacity 30,000) to the home of FC Porto, which holds 50,000.
With the England game with Croatia being moved, it seems likely that more tickets will be available for it when the last round of first-come, first served sales starts on 9 December. Applications can be made from midday on that date via www.euro2004.com. England's games against France in the Stadium of Light and Switzerland in Coimbra are already "general" sell-outs. The English FA will have around 12,000 tickets for the France and Croatia games to sell to members of englandfans, its official fan club, plus about 6,000 for the Switzerland game. Touts, no doubt, will have plenty more.Reuse content