Blow to stadium hopes

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The North’s Sports Minister has confirmed that there will be no money to develop Brandywell Stadium until at least 2015.

Caral Ni Chuilin has also revealed that she will meet with local MLAs, City Councillors and representatives of Derry City FC to discuss concerns over the future of the stadium.

The minister said the meeting would take place after a study of stadium developments is completed.

She said that, when the Executive endorsed funding for regional stadium developments in March, it also endorsed funding of around £36 million for association football’s strategic stadium needs at the sub-regional level, which would include the Brandywell.

She insisted that, in doing so, the Executive agreed that this should be taken forward as a priority area of spend in the next budget period, which will commence in 2015.

The minister said the process of developing plans in this way will allow for opportunities for more facilities to be located within the Derry area to be fully considered alongside other areas in Northern Ireland.

Earlier this year, Derry City FC chairman Philip O’Doherty warned that the FAI may impose restrictions if the Brandywell remains in a poor state of repair.