Allocate disputed Windsor funds to the Brandywell - Ramsey

SDLP's Pat Ramsey.  (1005JB04)
SDLP's Pat Ramsey. (1005JB04)

Funding for the redevelopment of Belfast’s Windsor Park - currently at the centre of a High Court dispute - should be allocated to upgrading Derry’s Brandywell stadium, a local MLA has said.

On Wednesday it emerged in the High Court that the North’s Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) has “no binding agreement” to allocate the £110million to fund the stadium upgrade.

Irish league soccer club Crusaders is objecting to the funding on the basis that it would provide state aid to rivals Linfield, owners of Windsor Park.

According to Crusaders, the upgrade breaches European Union competition laws.

Derry SDLP MLA Pat Ramsey said the money should now go elsewhere.

“The Department’s lawyer pointed out that the decision by DCAL to award funding had not yet taken place.

“In light of this, and the fact that SportNI alongside the IFA is working on a Business Case for sub-regional stadia funding, such as the Brandywell with no apparent legal ramifications, I am calling on the Sports Minister to allocate the disputed funding to the Brandywell development.

This way, we can ensure regional parity in sports facilities, and see public money put to immediate good use for the benefit of the sporting community in Derry and beyond,” he said.