The FAI is on a collision course with its 10-year ticket holders after it emerged fans who have paid up to €32,000 to see six games a year at the new Aviva Stadium will be sitting in the same section as supporters who have paid face value for their tickets.
Ten thousand places were set aside for 'Vantage Club' premium-ticket holders in the new stadium, but it is understood that a little more than half have been sold, leaving a substantial number of empty seats.
A spokesman for the FAI said any unsold seats would be sold on a "match-by-match basis" and would not be left empty. This means fans who will pay about €85 for their tickets will be seated near premium-ticket holders who will have paid €533 for theirs.
The €533 figure is an average figure based on 60 games over the 10-year period of the agreement.
The move is set to further anger 10-year ticket holders who were last week told they will not be allowed into the first football match in the new stadium unless they pay extra.
Customers were told the game – between Manchester United and a League Of Ireland selection – was not included in the Vantage Club deal, which ranges in price from €12,000 to €32,000.
The FAI defended its decision, claiming the fixture is not part of the Vantage Club contract.
"The 10-year tickets entitle the holder to attend all senior international games as well as FAI cup finals. This [Man United game] is considered an option event, but ticket holders will have the first preference on buying the tickets," said spokesman Eoghan Rice.
FAI management is now under pressure to sell the remaining 5,000 Vantage Club tickets, as the revenue is needed to help the FAI finance the stadium.
"We are hoping to have sold 6,000 tickets by August, and we are on track with sales at the moment," said Rice.
"There have been no official figures released as of yet on sales."
He confirmed that most fans would be unable to buy alcohol at the new stadium. "Those outside the premium level will not be in a position to buy drink."