Belfast Telegraph

Funding must be allocated to clubs fairly

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

With Stuart McKinley

While a question mark hangs over the £25m refurbishment of Windsor Park, Crusaders' decision to seek a Judicial Review against the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) will inevitably attract growing criticism.

However, the club's fans appear to be behind their crusade and there is no doubt that other clubs in domestic football's top flight and rival supporters understand the motives behind the move.

Everyone wants to see funding allocated to clubs on a fair basis.

The problem for the north Belfast club is that they are flying this flag alone and if the major construction work which Windsor badly needs fails to proceed, the knives will be out for the Hatchet men. The Judicial Review will be heard in mid-December which is three months after work to upgrade and modernise the international venue is due to begin.

But I would be very surprised if the legal case goes ahead, despite Crusaders' belief that the ratepayers and football fans are entitled to know how these decisions are arrived at and whether Linfield's financial muscle will continue to shape the domestic game. That has always been the case, so nothing will change on that score.

Now there is pressure on all sides to park this dispute and move forward in good faith.

A Crusaders source has said: "Building could start in September if there's a reasoned, balanced, settlement."

Windsor needs a lick of paint and there are plenty of jobs linked with the ambitious project. While Crusaders' frustration is understandable, they will not want to bite off the hand that feeds them.

Belfast Telegraph

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