Windsor Park: Insurers to foot bill for redeveloped West Stand
A new stand will be built at the home of the Northern Ireland football team to replace one demolished over safety concerns.
The West Stand at Windsor Park, Belfast, was bulldozed this year after cracks developed.
The rest of Windsor Park had been undergoing a government-funded redevelopment at the time, but the West Stand was not part of the rebuild plans, and was only due to be refurbished.
While the new state-of-the-art facilities have been built on two other sides of the ground, the west end has been left empty since the demolition.
The reconstructed stand, which will have capacity for 3,400 fans and will bring the total capacity to 18,000, will open in time for the side's World Cup qualifying game against San Marino on October 10 2016. The cost will be met by insurance money.
IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson said: "I am delighted that work on the rebuilding of the West Stand will start in the coming weeks. The newly reconstructed stand will be even better than what was there before.
"With improved sight-lines, more comfort and one viewing platform, the new stand will only add to the noise and the legendary atmosphere at the ground."
Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin welcomed news of the redevelopment.
"This will allow for the West Stand to be reinstated in its entirety," she said.
"This will be funded through insurance and, as I have stated consistently, there will be no cost to the public purse.
"I understand that work will commence on the stand within a number of weeks.
"The planned works taking place elsewhere in the ground are nearing completion, and when the West Stand is completed next autumn, local football will be showcasing a modern 18,000 all-seater stadium.
"This is further good news in what has been a wonderful year to date for the IFA."