Belfast Telegraph

IFA tables bid to host 2019 European Super Cup at Windsor Park

By Adrian Rutherford

Some of the stars of world football could be coming to Northern Ireland.

The Irish FA has submitted a formal bid to stage the 2019 Uefa Super Cup in Belfast.

The glamour tie, held each August, brings together the winners of the Champions League and Europa League.

Over the past decade the biggest clubs on the planet, including Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Chelsea, have played in the game, screened to a global TV audience.

This year's Super Cup will see Real Madrid featuring Cristiano Ronaldo face Manchester United in Skopje, Macedonia.

Belfast is one of seven cities aiming to host the Super Cup in 2019.

The others are Tirana (Albania); Toulouse (France); Haifa (Israel); Astana (Kazakhstan); Gdansk (Poland) and Istanbul (Turkey). The host will be selected on September 21.

It is estimated the event could generate £2.3 million for the local economy and bring up to 10,000 travelling fans. The IFA spent three months preparing its bid for the glamour tie.

It said the prospect of Europe's elite coming to Belfast would be on a par with the MTV European Music Awards and the Giro d'Italia cycling event, which have all been staged in the city.

"No matter who it is, it will be Europe's biggest clubs and it will be a great advertisement for Northern Ireland plc," a spokesman said.

"And with the recent public money used to redevelop the national stadium, it will put Windsor on the map."

He said the IFA had received the backing of all local parties.

"It has been very positive from all the political parties and Belfast City Council," he added. "We have had the leaders from the political parties at the stadium and they just said: 'What do you need?' So it's been great.

"The IFA was founded in 1880 and this will show us as progressive country, moving forward."

Ulster Unionist leader Robin Swann said: "I am delighted to join other party leaders in adding my signature to support the bid by the IFA to host the 2019 Super Cup, and no doubt local football fans will be hoping that they will have the opportunity to see clubs of a similar stature in Belfast."

The Super Cup was traditionally staged in Monaco.

However, Uefa, European football's governing body, is keen to stage the match in all corners of Europe.

Since 2013 the game has been held in Cardiff, Prague (Czech Republic), Tblisi (Georgia) and Trondheim in Norway. This year's match between Real Madrid and Man United is being staged at the Philip II Arena in the Macedonian capital.

Next year's venue is Tallinn in Estonia.

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