INSTITUTE BOSS, Paddy McLaughlin has welcomed news that Wilton Park has been approved by the IFA as a temporary home venue for the Drumahoe club for the remainder of the season.
And it’s understood the venue will be available to host Championship matches as early as the end of October!
They have pencilled in the last weekend of October but I think it’s just a matter of getting the things in place the league’s looking for.Paddy McLaughlin
Institute have been feeling the effects of life on the road since the Riverside Stadium was devastated by overnight flooding last August.
And now the club has received ‘verbal confirmation’ from the relevant governing bodies, that Wilton Park can be utilised to host their home fixtures until the end of the season after fellow Championship clubs unanimously supported Institute’s request.
A statement from the club read: “The IFA approved our exception application at last night’s Board meeting with the provision that the proposed alternative venue for our home matches complied with general intermediate level regulations.
“Institute club representatives met with IFA and NIFL officials at Wilton Park at noon today (Friday) and were given verbal confirmation that the ground did meet with the relevant regulations.
“We now await official confirmation in writing from the IFA, but we can confirm to our supporters that we will be playing home games at Wilton Park in the not too distant future.”
With minimal work needed to bring the ground up to the required stadia criteria, McLaughlin is looking forward to having a home base once again.
“The IFA has held a meeting and all the clubs have voted in favour of the club switching our home games to Wilton Park which is credit to the other clubs for giving us a bit of leeway,” said the ‘Stute boss. “They understand the situation we’re in and fair play to them for that.
“The club have to put a couple of things in place before they get the official go ahead but they’re working hard behind the scenes, tidying up a few bits and pieces the IFA are requesting to get done to Wilton Park.
“As soon as that’s in place I’m sure we’ll be good to go.
“They have pencilled in the last weekend of October but I think it’s just a matter of getting the things in place the league’s looking for,” he confirmed.
“They’re thinking more towards the end of the month which will take us to the halfway point in the first round of fixtures. But to be where we are in the league in terms of playing mostly away from home I think we’ve done really well.
“We’ve had seven games in a row away from home and life on the road has been tough. But there are no complaints.
“It’s definitely been a massive rallying thing for us as a team and the club as a whole when you see the work being done behind the scenes.”