in

Euro 2028 organisers forced to draw up contingency plans over fears abandoned stadium won’t be saved in time

EURO 2028 organisers have been forced to draw up contingency plans over fears an abandoned stadium will not be ready in time for the tournament.

Belfast’s Casement Park is a former Gaelic football arena that has been empty since 2013.

Euro 2028 chiefs have drawn up contingency plans amid fears Casement Park will not be ready

11

Euro 2028 chiefs have drawn up contingency plans amid fears Casement Park will not be readyCredit: Sportsfile
Work has yet to begin on the redevelopment of stadium

11

Work has yet to begin on the redevelopment of stadium
Costs have already leaped by £40m to £110m

11

Costs have already leaped by £40m to £110mCredit: Sportsfile

First opened in 1953, it was granted planning permission for a major development in 2021.

And the new Casement Park was selected as one of the host stadiums for the UK and Ireland’s joint Euro 2028 bonanza.

However, the Times claims Belfast and Northern Ireland could now miss out on having an arena at the tournament.

Redevelopment plans for Casement Park have soared from £73million to over £110m.

Work has not even begun on the proposed 34,500-seater stadium.

And Euro 2028 organisers are now exploring other options amid fears Casement Park will not be ready in time.

The three matches it is due to hold would be split among the nine other venues across the rest of the UK and Ireland.

But efforts would be made to keep Northern Ireland involved by hosting pre-tournament friendlies.

FREE BETS – BEST BETTING OFFERS & NEW CUSTOMER BONUSES

And the draw for the tournament could even be held in Belfast too.

The redevelopment of Casement Park has met opposition from some local fans and politicians, as it would be primarily used as a Gaelic football stadium after the Euros.

Former Labour sports minister Baroness Kate Hoey said: “The big worry is that there will be no legacy for football.”

Gary McAllister, the chairman of the Amalgamation of Northern Ireland Supporters Clubs, noted: “There are a significant number of Northern Ireland fans who are not happy for games to be staged at Casement Park in Euro 2028.

“Nothing that has been said or done since the tournament was awarded has reduced those concerns.

“We are seeing a rival sport [GAA] potentially benefiting from a huge investment in a stadium which will host at most [three] football games.

“The primary benefactor of a football tournament should be football.”

But Patrick Nelson, the chief executive of the Irish FA, added: “There is a disparity of views but this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to show the world what a wonderful country Northern Ireland is.

“We don’t have plans to play at Casement Park beyond the Euros but the legacy can take many forms — including more kids playing football, staying healthy, less obesity and better grassroots pitches.”

Casement Park is one of ten stadiums selected for the UK and Ireland's joint Euros

11

Casement Park is one of ten stadiums selected for the UK and Ireland’s joint EurosCredit: Sportsfile
It is a former Gaelic football stadium located in Belfast

11

It is a former Gaelic football stadium located in BelfastCredit: Getty
Casement Park first opened its doors in 1953

11

Casement Park first opened its doors in 1953Credit: Getty
It has been empty since 2013 but got permission for redevelopment in 2021

11

It has been empty since 2013 but got permission for redevelopment in 2021Credit: Getty
Some fans and politicians have spoken out against Casement Park as a host stadium

11

Some fans and politicians have spoken out against Casement Park as a host stadiumCredit: Getty
Once the Euros are over, Casement Park will mainly be used for Gaelic football

11

Once the Euros are over, Casement Park will mainly be used for Gaelic footballCredit: Sportsfile
The three matches it is set to host would be split among the remaining nine stadiums

11

The three matches it is set to host would be split among the remaining nine stadiumsCredit: Getty
Northern Ireland could instead hold pre-tournament friendlies and even host the draw

11

Northern Ireland could instead hold pre-tournament friendlies and even host the drawCredit: Pacemaker

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Man Utd transfer news: Denzel Dumfries likely to leave Inter this summer

Chelsea star named ‘flop of the season’ over disappointing Man Utd duo | Football | Sport