Belfast: National stadium revamp threatened?

source: U.tv

Belfast: National stadium revamp threatened? It seems so after U.tv reported Crusaders FC challenging the redevelopment of Windsor Park. The club claims it would be state aid to their derby rivals, Linfield FC.

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Crusaders FC claim that planned upgrade of Windsor Park breaches European Union competition laws.

The stadium functions as Northern Irish national venue for football and is thus planned to be revamped with public funds, estimated at some £29 million. However, the venue is owned by Lindield FC, local rivals of Crusaders.

Windsor ParkThus the assumption by Crusaders that a revamp would form state aid to a private entity. The challengers argue the proposals would create unfair revenue streams as well as superior facilities at the south Belfast ground.

With a demand to postpone the first hearing until September overturned, the case will now begin in court on May 21.

Though public authorities argue that no commitment has been made so far and thus no state aid has been submitted, the sole judicial review may effectively halt progress of the project, expected to begin construction this autumn, already having the planning permission in place.

A lawyer for the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure said a final decision on whether to commit public funds to the Windsor Park scheme now centred on the question of alleged state aid. Potential development of the case may take even two years and impede the planned works.

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