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16 January 2012, 12:37
Middlesbrough have told disappointed fans that safety chiefs limited the club's allocation for the FA Cup 4th round trip to Sunderland to just 3,000 tickets.
The Teessiders insist they requested more tickets for the game at the Stadium of Light on Sunday 29th of January, but trouble at previous derby matches prompted Sunderland's safety advisory group to order restrictions.
A statement released by Boro said:
"We sympathise with fans who were unable to purchase tickets for the FA Cup tie with Sunderland.
Unfortunately, despite strenuous attempts on our behalf, the club's allocation was limited to just 3,000 tickets. We were very much aware of the strong demand for this fixture and argued for a significant increase on this figure.
Sunderland's Safety Advisory Group cited problems at the Stadium of Light in previous derby matches as the reason for the small figure.
Indeed, initially they were arguing for an even smaller figure of 2,700 tickets, the same figure we were given at our last game where we know significant problems were faced by our fans.
We managed to obtain a 10% increase on this figure, although we accept the allocation still falls significantly short of demand.
With safety of our fans paramount, the unprecedented decision was also taken to provide free coaches for our travelling fans.
Unfortunately there is no prospect of receiving further tickets from Sunderland for this fixture."
Boro's allocation went on sale on Saturday morning and swiftly sold out.