MBE anomaly royally rumbles Londonderry NI fan’s Euro ticket hunt

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The Green and White Army Euro 2016 ticket hunt took a frustrating bureaucratic twist for one well-known local supporter recently when an computer system was unable to work out that ‘Brian Dougherty’ and ‘Brian Dougherty MBE’ were one and the same person.

The former community worker, who has followed Northern Ireland overseas and is a regular block-booker of tickets, had accumulated enough points to be in the running for tickets for matches against Poland, Ukraine and Germany at the Euros in June.

However, the computer system deciding these matters didn’t think so.

Ironically Brian, who was invested with an MBE for his community work in Londonderry a number of years ago, had for the first time ever placed the gong on his ticket application. Every little helps, he thought.

“I’ve never actually used the MBE for my own personal advantage before,” Brian reflected ruefully. “I would have put it down the odd time on references and for groups who were looking for grants or whatever but this is the first time I’ve ever used it in a personal application.

“I had adequate points as I would have been a regular block-booker and I’ve been to quite a few away games but because I’d put down ‘Brian Dougherty’ on the one form and ‘Brian Dougherty MBE’ on the other, the computer system didn’t recognise it.”

Thus Brian received a frustrating reply from the IFA to this effect: “I have looked into your applications and now understand the reason your Germany and Poland applications were unsuccessful. Unfortunately, it comes down to a difference between your IFA priority list information and your UEFA application information, specifically on the Irish Priority List, you completed the forms as ‘Brian Dougherty MBE,’ but only as ‘Brian Dougherty’ on the UEFA application.

“The system therefore did not attach the appropriate priority points to your application. I understand that this is extremely unfortunate. At present, we do not have sufficient tickets available for the Poland and Germany matches to enable you to be offered tickets for these games by UEFA.

“We will, however, continue to press for further tickets for the games in Paris and Nice. In terms of other options for these matches, UEFA’s general re-sale portal will open next week and you will have the opportunity to apply for further tickets.

“In the meantime, we will try out best to secure tickets for individuals likes yourself who have missed out on some tickets due to an unusual clerical error.”

Brian did obtain a ticket for the Ukraine match in Lyon on June 16. He was also fortunate enough to be offered tickets for the game against Poland on June 12 after a sympathetic football fan heard of his predicament and got in touch via social media.

He’s still looking for tickets for the clash with the world champions Germany in Parc de Prince on June 21. Fingers-crossed.