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Kop to be razed immediately but IFA insists Windsor will still host crunch Romania tie

By Steven Beacom

Published 21/04/2015

The West Stand, better known as the Kop, will be torn down straight away
The West Stand, better known as the Kop, will be torn down straight away
The Kop witnesses its last game, the win over Finland
Structural damage is clearly visible
IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson

The Irish Football Association has confirmed that the famous Kop Stand at Windsor Park will be demolished within weeks.

Addressing the committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure at Stormont yesterday, IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson revealed that plans have been put in place to knock down the Kop because of the structural damage which was discovered last month.

Nelson also told the committee that, despite not having the Kop available to use, Northern Ireland's vital Euro 2016 qualifier against Romania on June 13 will still take place at Windsor and in front of 10,000 fans.

The idea is that the 4,000 fans normally housed in the Kop, officially called the West Stand, will be seated in the Railway Stand and South Stand areas of the ground.

Work will now be accelerated in those stands in order to make that happen. The building contractors for Windsor, O'Hare and McGovern, are transporting 4,000 seats to Belfast and they will be installed in time for the Romania game.

Both the IFA and O'Hare and McGovern were at pains to point out yesterday that the stadium would be safe for all the fans come match day.

In a statement released yesterday, the IFA said: "The Board of the Irish Football Association met today to ratify a recommendation from the National Football Stadium project team that the West Stand at the stadium be made safe through demolition following recent structural damage.

"This recommendation came after a series of meetings with all interested parties which considered all the available evidence and following the review of a structural engineer's report which was received towards the end of last week. Planning preparation for this work will begin immediately.

"In addition, the board resolved that the upcoming UEFA Euro 2016 qualifier against Romania on Saturday 13 June 2015 will be played at the National Football Stadium.

"The project team has produced a plan which will enable all of the 10,000 capacity to be met for this game by accelerating works on the project in the East Stand, South East Quadrant, and South Stand." IFA chief executive Nelson added: "Naturally it is sad that we are having to resolve the West Stand issues in this manner. Now the decision has been made, the focus turns to delivery."

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