ALLIANCE Assembly candidate Yvonne Boyle (East Londonderry) has said that recent news that Windsor Park is under threat as an international soccer venue after a warning from Uefa about sub-standard facilities shows just how much Northern Ireland would benefit from a national stadium.
Ms Boyle, who is Alliance’s deputy culture, arts and leisure spokesperson, said Alliance would work towards a national stadium in a new Assembly.
“Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK without a decent sports facility. A quick comparison between Windsor Park and Hampden Park or between Casement Park and Croke Park clearly demonstrates that our grounds are not up to scratch in terms of providing good facilities for sports fans.
“A new purpose-built, fan-friendly ground would undoubtedly help increase attendances at local sporting events.
“Alliance believes that a new stadium could help overcome these problems, as the major sporting organisations would have to work together. In addition, both Windsor and Casement Parks are located in highly polarised areas that make it uncomfortable for many attending these grounds. A new stadium would have the potential to open up these sports to a whole new audience, as we have already seen at the Odyssey, which is in a neutral area.
“A national stadium is a long-term goal. But the starting pistol on the debate has fired, and the first step must be co-operation between the different sports whose involvement is crucial to the success of such a venue.”