Ambassadors from all the visiting finalists have attended a gala lunch to herald the start of ticket sales for this summer's UEFA European Under-21 Championship in Israel.
Israel Football Association (IFA) chairman Avi Luzon and foreign ministry deputy director general for Europe Rafi Shutz hosted the occasion, where they also inaugurated the official tournament match ball. During the course of the meeting, Mr Luzon and Mr Shutz told their guests of the preparations already under way to publicise the tournament, which will be broadcast to 140 countries around the world. They hope it will also help to attract tourists, scouts, dignitaries and players' family members.
Tournament manager Ronen Hershko gave a detailed presentation about the hosting of the games, associated events and the wide-ranging activities of the local organising committee in advance of the tournament.
Now that ticket sales have started, tens of thousands of fans have already booked their place, with sales gathering pace by the day. The IFA, in cooperation with the local authorities hosting the games, are hoping to fill the stadiums for every fixture.
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