England v Poland: FA defends decision to sell 18,000 tickets to Polish fans
The FA have defended their decision to sell 18,000 tickets to Polish fans for Tuesday night's World Cup qualifier.
Last Updated: 15/10/13 9:10am
Surprise has been expressed in some quarters that almost a quarter of the crowd will be made up of opposition fans for such a crucial game.
But the FA maintain that by doubling the 9,000 allocation Poland are entitled to under FIFA rules they will prevent away fans from buying tickets in the home end.
Scott Field, the FA's director of communications, told Sky Sports News: "The tickets went on sale in August and decisions were taken at that time on the various information and intelligence available to us.
"That suggested that large numbers of the Polish communtiy would want to see the game. The Polish community is one of the largest in the UK. Demand was always going to be very high.
"We didn't want Polish fans to buying tickets in the England end of the stadium. We wanted to make sure it was manageable was policed correctly and was contained in one section of the stadium as best as possible."
Field also revealed that the England end for the game on Tuesday had only sold out on Friday - and he is confident that 70,000 voices would be sufficient to roar the country on to Brazil.
"The following from England fans is incredible and we had nearly 84,000 for the game against Montenegro," he said. "But it has to be said that the tickets for this Poland game only sold out last Friday. So there were tickets on sale for this game to England fans until very recently.
"We have had large away followings in the stadium in recent games; 21,000 against Ghana and 20,000 against Scotland and another large Irish following for the recent game at Wembley."
England manager Roy Hodgson said at a press conference that the FA were virtually forced into the decision to allocate the large number of tickets to Polish fans by the police, but a spokesman for the Metropolitan Police told Sky Sports News that was not the case.
Met Police Match Commander Chief Superintendent Colin Morgan said: "It was not on behalf of the police, we did not force anyone to allocate any number of tickets to any country and we never do.
"It is a Cat C match which means there can be a high risk of disorder, but we have had no intelligence what so ever about ant pre-planned disorder.
On the question of segregation at Wembley, he said: "For ever competitive match we do segregate fans regardless of what club or country they are supporting.
"We have on-going dialogue with the FA. The FA presented us with a plan and those plans made a lot of sense about where they were intending to put both the travelling Polish supporters, and the London and UK based Polish supporters."