CRUSADERS TO INVEST IN NEW £25M INDOOR VENUE

Crusaders and Newington are set to announce a £25million investment plan for a new stadium in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Despite a recent Special EU Programmes Body decision to reject a funding application clubs but they remain committed to sharing a new arena.

This has lead to both clubs looking at other options which could include the possibility of sharing an indoor stadium.

Mark Langhammer, leading member of the Giants Park steering committee, said: “One of the things we will be looking at is whether the shared stadium could also be Ireland’s first indoor football stadium.

"With the expertise of local professionals and stadia viability specialists, ongoing political support, the support of a wide range of ambassadors from the business, legal, media and community worlds, our own hard work and with the support of the people of north Belfast, together we’ll find a way to make this work."

Both clubs were aware the ambitious project at North Foreshore could encounter difficulty but they are convinced their stadium dream can still become a reality.

Newington treasurer Brian Kearney said "The stadium project is still a reality. After much discussion and a detailed appraisal procedure, the two clubs have put together what is a realistic new proposal for review.

"A political consensus has ensured that land on the North Foreshore in Belfast will be available for the shared stadium and sports village, subject to two requirements.

"The first requirement states that the clubs secure the capital investment to design, plan and build it. Secondly, the business plan must demonstrate that it will be a viable concern. So it’s back to the drawing board to revise the sports village master plan."

An indoor football stadium would be the first of its kind in Ireland.

Posted on 02/08/2010