Alliance asks Poots how £8 million for local football in 2002 was spent

Alliance Sports Spokesperson Cllr Michael Long asked Minister Edwin Poots to outline how the £8 million pledged by the previous DCAL Minister to help local football in 2002 has been spent, or if it has been spent at all. He blasted Edwin Poots for telling Irish League clubs to improve grounds but providing no fresh ideas to help them do so. Cllr Long’s comments follow Edwin Poots’ statement yesterday at the official launch of the new Irish Premier League season.

Castlereagh Councillor Michael Long said: “We previously heard in 2002 that £8million was to be given to assist local football. The Minister Edwin Poots should clarify how much of this cash has actually reached Irish League clubs to help them improve their grounds? We need a detailed breakdown of how this cash has been spent or if it has even been spent yet.

“The Minister should be providing fresh ideas to help our Irish League clubs, instead of telling them to improve their grounds with little or no assistance from his Department.

“English and Welsh football clubs got the financial backing they needed to upgrade grounds following the Taylor report on stadia published in the 90s, but our local clubs never got any funding for such improvements at that time.

“I wrote to the then Minister responsible for sport in 1999 about this matter and very little, if any progress has been made in the interim. Someone needs to take the initiative and help local clubs. That person should be Edwin Poots.

“Through raising the standard of grounds and facilities local clubs will get the chance to attract more supporters and strengthen the league. The least the Minister should do is assist them, instead of merely telling them what to do.”


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