Hussey urges local clubs to have their say on football programme

Derek Hussey.

Derek Hussey.

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Local Ulster Unionist Party Councillor, Derek Hussey, has urged football clubs at all levels of the game, particularly across the Derry City & Strabane District Council Area, to participate in the consultation on the Sub-Regional Stadia Programme which was announced on Monday and which intends to allocate £36m to meet the strategic needs of Association Football in Northern Ireland.

The Derry City and Strabane District Councillor said: “I obviously welcome any funding being made available to support local football, but the Minister’s statement does prompt a number of questions, not least as to why she is so wedded to a position as articulated by the IFA Facilities Strategy of March 2011 despite the fact that it updated its requirements in August 2012.

“Questions also arise from Strand One of the Programme which says that ‘Redevelopment of the Oval in partnership with Glentoran Football Club is proposed,’ which is also followed by the line ‘a budget of circa £10 million would be made available for this strand.’

“This will strike many people as curious given that senior Glentoran officials have in the past expressed a desire to leave the Oval and build a new stadium elsewhere in East Belfast.

“What is not in doubt is that local football clubs at all levels of the game should look at the Consultation document and identify which of the five Strands is relevant to them. Strand 2 applies to those Stadia listed as ‘Designated Venues’ under the Safety at Sports Grounds Order; Strand 3 relates to Non–Designated Venues whilst Strand 5 covers Intermediate and Junior football.”

The Derg Electoral Area Ulster Unionist Councillor concluded: “Through my own local football connections I am well aware that local football clubs have been crying out for appropriate funding to their playing facilities.

“These facilites, providing as they do for all sections of our community, face increasing requirements from the authorities in order to remain available for the relevant level of football that they operate at and it is therefore essential that Clubs participate in this consultation process and make their voices heard.”

The Consultation closes on Monday, February 22, 2016.

The consultation document and response form can be downloaded from the DCAL website at http://www.dcalni.gov.uk/consultations/dcal-sub-regional-stadia-programme-soccer