The Football Association today repeated its appeal to fans not to travel to Mace
The Football Association today repeated its appeal to fans not to travel to Macedonia ahead of England's Group 7 European Qualifier on Saturday evening...
In June The FA confirmed that they would not be making tickets for the match available to England supporters and have continued to warn fans of the potential risks to those who do not heed the advise and also to England's participation in future tournaments.
On Monday morning, Paul Barber, The FA's Director of Marketing & Communications, reiterated the warning and reminded fans that if they do travel, they may face bans and could miss the game altogether.
"There will be no segregation inside the ground," he told The FA.com, "and there will be no place inside the ground for English fans to watch the game."
The 2,500 tickets that were originally set-aside for visiting supporters have been purchased by The FA and donated to under-privileged children in Macedonia.
Working with the Foreign Office and Embassy in Skopje, The FA has linked up with six Non-Government Organisations representing disadvantaged children to distribute the tickets and on Saturday forty coaches of kids will arrive at the ground from all over Macedonia.
"With the help of the local authorities we've been able to issue all of the tickets to children around country in the form of vouchers. After arriving in Skopje on Saturday, they'll all receive an FA gift bag and will be able to exchange their voucher for the match ticket at the turnstile," explained Barber.
"This will be managed by experienced FA and Embassy staff alongside local authorities to ensure that they don't get into the wrong hands."
This is just one of the safety measures to be carried out around the game as British and Macedonian authorities look to prevent ticketless fans from gaining entry. ID and other security checks will be in place to identify those in possession of forged tickets or those obtained on black market and their access to the stadium will be denied.
"We will also be working alongside our own Police force and the Macedonian Police to identify any English fans inside or outside of the stadium. Any individuals inside of the stadium risk becoming involved in disturbances and this could lead to them being banned for life from receiving tickets for future England matches."
In addition, The FA will hand a list of 1,800 individuals with banning orders to the local authorities and every person travelling will be scrutinised against this list. The Macedonian authorities have also warned that should fans travel and misbehave in any way, they can expect to be dealt with in the firmest possible manner.
"Macedonia is a non-EU country so all passports must be checked at border control points. The Macedonian authorities will be provided with the full list of individuals who have banning orders so there will be extra checks in place to prevent any of these individuals from passing into the country," Barber added.
"We have continually asked fans not to travel to the games since June and, with the possible risks that they face, we sincerely hope that these repeated warnings have been heeded - please stay at home and watch the match on television."