Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Linfield say ‘yes’ to Windsor deal

The Irish FA have their own house to sort out at the moment — and it’s a big clean up job — but at least Linfield have given the thumbs up to a new, improved future for our international stadium, Windsor Park.

There are still hurdles ahead — Government paymasters still have to decide whether the IFA should be given funds in the light of the DCAL report — but if everything falls into place, Windsor could have a bright future.

Linfield members last night backed a draft agreement between the Irish Football Association and the club, paving the way for the badly needed modernisation and redevelopment of the stadium, with a possible capacity of around 20,000.

A consultation process between Linfield and its members will now begin for two months while the details of the agreement are negotiated between the IFA and Linfield.

The agreement gives an annual £200,000 index linked rental payment to Linfield, the creation of a new stadium management company with up to 40 years of a lease on the stadium, with Linfield retaining ownership of the land and the right to continue to play at the ground without any maintenance costs.

Linfield president Peter Lunn said: “This is a good day for Linfield FC and for football in Northern Ireland. Our members have shown their support, in a mature and responsible way, for the broad agreement we have reached with the IFA.

“For some time now it has been perceived that the contract between Linfield and the IFA was a blockage to any progress in the development of a new stadium for the Northern Ireland football team.

“We are very proud of the way in which both our Management Committee and our Members have responded to, at times, unjust and unwarranted criticism and made a decision that is fair for Linfield, as the owners of Windsor Park and in the best interests of football.”

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