Windsor Park redevelopment can get underway
The refurbishment of Windsor Park will go ahead after Sports Minister Carál Ní Chuilín confirmed that redevelopment plans could be implemented.
News that the green light has been given to the significant £31m project is a massive boost to the Irish Football Association and football fans across the country.
The funding agreement allows the IFA to appoint their main contractor for the redevelopment, with the capacity set to rise to 18,000.
The Minister said: "This signals a new chapter in the history of Windsor Park. Funding of £31m will allow the Irish Football Association to modernise Windsor and raise the capacity to 18,000. This is a tremendous boost for the local football family which will see two new stands and two refurbished stands.
"I look forward to visiting the revamped Windsor Park in 2016. Football fans at long last can look forward to a brighter future in the modernised, family friendly stadium they deserve."
A question mark had hung over the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure's (DCAL) support for the redevelopment plans when the Minister indicated that "governance" issues at the IFA could delay funding for the project.
These focused on David Martin's return to the role of IFA deputy president.
An Irish FA statement read: "The Irish FA is delighted to be given approval by Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) for the £31million funding for the redevelopment of the National Football Stadium.
"We are now in a position to appoint the contractor for the design and build of the National Football Stadium."