EU clears Belfast stadium funding deal

Published Wednesday, 09 April 2014
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The decision by the Northern Ireland Executive to award over £100m for the construction and regeneration of three sports stadia in Belfast has been cleared by the European Commission.

EU clears Belfast stadium funding deal
The new-look Ravenhill welcomed 18,000 spectators for the Heineken Cup clash. (© Presseye)

The Department of Culture Arts and Leisure has pledged to provide £110m for the Casement, Ravenhill and Windsor Park projects.

However, last year the funding package was thrown into doubt after a legal challenge was launched claiming the deal breached EU fair trading legislation.

Following an investigation, the European Commission has ruled that the agreement was "consistent" with EU state aid rules.

The Commission found that the proposed funding contributes to urban regeneration and social cohesion, in line with EU objectives, without unduly distorting competition in the single market.

The commission's vice president in charge of competition policy, Joaquín Almunia, said: "The reconstruction of the three stadia will contribute to the regeneration of disadvantaged urban communities in Belfast.

"It will furthermore promote social cohesion across religious divides and encourage communities to come together through the most popular sports of the region.''

He added: "Moreover, the aid is well-targeted as it addresses a specific problem of under-investment in local sports infrastructure."

The work at Casement Park and Windsor is scheduled to begin within the coming weeks while the regeneration of Ravenhill is nearing completion.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
s magowan in belfasth wrote (289 days ago):
Mickey,Derry city play in the LOI,they also have received finance in the form of millions of pounds from the IFA,money which should have been invested in grounds here in the Irish league.Teams like Distillery,Warrenpoint Town,Ards and Donegal Celtic are all struggling because of the lack of funds and ground facilities.Derry City are receiving plenty of cash from the LOI and in no need of handouts from a football association which they couldn't leave quick enough.
J in Belfast wrote (289 days ago):
How this got eu approval is beyond me, how can the government be allowed to fund an already rich corporate business letting on to be an amateur sports organisation, this stadiums main priority is for concerts, if not then build a appropriate sports stadium, one that matches the crowd attendance figures etc. its for non sporting events and a 880 corporate VIP restaurant and other corporate facilities, not much grassroots or community benefit from that! This whole thing has been a rotten egg from the word go! Build a like for like SPORTS stadium then GAA fans are happy and residents happy, everyone's a winner! Simples.
Mickey in Derry wrote (292 days ago):
Any thing for derry or does derry still not count?
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