Ulster Unionist Culture, Arts & Leisure spokesperson Michael McGimpsey has demanded that the Irish FA and DCAL resolve their difficulties so that work can finally begin on redeveloping Windsor Park to ensure Northern Ireland has a modern stadium that can host International Football.
Mr McGimpsey said:
“I am extremely frustrated at the lack of progress in the re-development of Windsor Park.
The latest dispute to emerge between the IFA and DCAL is the last thing which local football needs.
Personality issues and egos should not come into play here. Northern Ireland needs a modern stadium which complies fully with FIFA and UEFA regulations and which will house Northern Ireland fans in the comfort which they deserve.
The IFA did itself no favours in the past in terms of “governance issues”. If the IFA is seeking to access £28 million of public money to fund the redevelopment of Windsor Park, it is perfectly reasonable that DCAL would seek to ensure that the IFA and its governance and accountability mechanisms are fit for purpose before handing over that amount of money.
Rugby has already redeveloped three sides of Ravenhill and the GAA have very ambitious plans for Casement Park. Football is the one major sport which we play internationally as Northern Ireland and we simply must not allow it to be left behind.
This uncertainty must be resolved as quickly as possible so that work can finally commence on a new South Stand, a new Railway stand and the redevelopment of the North and Kop stands to give Northern Ireland and the Green & White army a stadium that is fit for purpose.”