FOYLE CUP GIVEN FINANCIAL LIFELINE

The Chairman of the Foyle Cup organising committee says that he’s no longer concerned about the competition’s financial future.

Michael Hutton was in good spirits yesterday after it was revealed that the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) has awarded both the Foyle and Milk Cups a one-off funding package worth approximately £40,000.

The funding package only applies to this year’s Foyle Cup.

However, when asked for his thoughts on the future of the local soccer tournament, Mr. Hutton said: “I’m not at all concerned about the future of the tournament because I believe in the product that we produce.

“If the tournament is worth funding this year then it is worth funding in the future,” he added.

Mr. Hutton expects to receive a letter explaining to him the details of DETI’s decision tomorrow.

“I got a call from the Department to tell me that there will be a letter arriving on Monday guaranteeing £40,000 of funding for this year’s Foyle Cup, funding through the Northern Ireland Tourist Board,” explained Mr. Hutton.

“What they are saying is that funding is in place for this year’s tournament and they are offering us technical support for applications for funding in future years.

“They want us to meet with grant officials for future years to look at funding applications,” he added.

Mr. Hutton thanked the DUP’s Gregory Campbell and all of the other politicians who helped the organisers secure the monies needed for this year’s tournament.

“I would like to thank Gregory Campbell and the other MLAs for their support in helping the tournament and their good sense from the start.”

It was announced last month that both the Foyle and Milk Cups had failed in their application for funding because they did not score highly in the funding criteria as they were primarily sporting events.

The Foyle Cup attracts thousands of visitors to Derry every summer with teams from all over the world competing.

SDLP MLA for Foyle Mark H. Durkan welcomed the news but said that the future of competition must remain a priority.

“I am delighted to hear that this year’s competition will go ahead but the work must start now to ensure that it happens again next year. It’s imperative that a long term plan is put in place. The Foyle Cup is very important to Derry,” he said.

Sinn Fein MLA for Foyle Raymond McCartney also welcomed the announcement.

“I welcome the news and would ask the people of the city to give as much support to the Foyle Cup as possible.”

The Foyle Cup will take place from July 19 to 23.