Alliance Sports Spokesperson Michael Long has branded the Sports Ministers decision to put the idea of a new National Stadium on the back burner as “short-sighted”.
He stated that a new stadium is needed to bring local facilities up to the standard of the rest of the UK, and would also help counter the sectarian baggage associated with venues such as Windsor Park and Casement Park.
Cllr Long said: “I feel the decision to shelve this recommendation is short-sighted. I recognise the difficulty in securing funding, but Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK without a decent sports facility. Having recently visited the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, the gap in facility provision is enormous.”
“In terms of the financial aspects, I feel that the current lack of a National Stadium actually costs the Northern Ireland economy, as we cannot bid for major sporting events such as the European Football Championships, along with the likes of Scotland and the Republic of Ireland.”
“What we need – literally – is a level playing field. Events such as these could prove to be huge money spinners for the local economy.”
“Alliance also believes a new facility could help counter the problem of sectarianism provided that it was located in a neutral environment and could cater for football, GAA and rugby. IFA President Jim Boyce reckons it is possible – and desirable – and I for one have to back him to the hilt on this issue.”