Funding fears over Euro 28 Northern Ireland stadium rebuild

February 28 – A UEFA delegation is reportedly due to visit Belfast today amid concerns over a funding row that has placed doubt over the re-construction of Casement Park, which is scheduled to host five games at Euro 2028.

Great Britain and Ireland are jointly staging the tournament but a lack of progress in the project of rebuilding the venue – a Gaelic football ground that has been closed since 2013 – is said to have prompted UEFA to undertake a technical visit to the Northern Irish capital.

If the stadium is not completed on time, UEFA will be forced to move the five fixtures to one of the other host countries due to the lack of an alternative in Northern Ireland. Windsor Park, for years the traditional host venue for Northern Ireland fixtures, is not being used due to its limited capacity.

There is apparently some political opposition among Northern Ireland supporters over the decision to award games to Casement Park – the stadium is named after Irish revolutionary Roger Casement – due to the venue being located in the traditional Nationalist area of west Belfast. Windsor Park, conversely, is based in Belfast’s traditional Unionist area.

But crucially the project has been given the backing of all political parties in the UK, Northern Ireland and the Republic.

UEFA were scheduled to meet senior figures in Belfast to discuss the stadium which has to be reconstructed by mid-2027. At this stage, there is reportedly not sufficient funding to pay for the redevelopment, which could cost more than £200 million.

An Irish FA spokesperson said: “We are looking forward to hosting UEFA to share more details about plans to host UEFA Euro 2028. Being part of this unique UK and Ireland tournament will benefit not just football, but all sections of our society, and we look forward to sharing the compelling story of Northern Ireland and Belfast.”

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