Belfast Telegraph

'Common sense prevails' - Northern Ireland football ground war memorial won't be covered up for international tournament

By Jonathan Bell

A war memorial at a Northern Ireland football ground will not be covered up for a showpiece international tournament.

"Common sense has prevailed," one local football source told the Belfast Telegraph.

Last night Uefa was slammed for “enforcing stupid rules” by ordering the memorial at Glenavon FC be covered up ahead of its hosting of games for the women's Under-19 tournament.

The memorial is dedicated to players from the club who gave their lives during the First World War.

Ulster Unionist and former soldier Doug Beattie condemned the edict from European football’s governing body to the Lurgan Blues.

However, on Friday it was confirmed the memorial will not be covered up.

"Through the coverage in the Belfast Telegraph we were able to show Uefa that this was not the type of publicity they wanted and thankfully they agreed," said a source.

Fifteen Glenavon players are commemorated on the memorial at the club’s Mourneview Park stadium.

A spokesman for the local organising committee explained that they were following Uefa guidelines and that after discussions on Friday the governing body's officials confirmed there was no need for the memorial to be covered for the three games the ground is to stage.

"We can now focus on celebrating what will be a wonderful sporting occasion here in Northern Ireland," said a spokesman.

A Uefa spokesman added: "The local organising committee of the UEFA Women’s Under-19 Championship requested that the war memorial at Mourneview Park be screened from the field of play based on UEFA guidelines. However, UEFA has advised that there is no obligation for the memorial in question to be covered up."

Mourneview is to host Northern Ireland v Scotland, Spain against Scotland and Italy v England. The tournament kicks off next week.

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