Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Stadium funding threat to Irish FA

Government funding for the proposed £25million national stadium revamp for Windsor Park could now hinge on changes at the top in the Irish FA.

That’s the implied threat in a Government-ordered Sport NI official review into how the IFA acted in the Howard Wells affair — a move which turns up the heat even further on under-fire President Raymond Kennedy.

The findings of the review are expected to be studied closely by Government chiefs before that desperately needed £25million can be invested in the game.

The review is likely to heap further pressure on Kennedy and his vice-president David Martin.

While Government cannot order the removal of elected football officials, the prospect of funding being withheld could prompt IFA members to act.

Many expressed anger at the handling of the case at a meeting of the IFA Council on Monday night.

Sport NI administer and recommend how grant aid to sport is awarded and spent.

And there is growing concern at Government, Assembly and rank and file football levels at how the IFA came to saddle the game with an estimated £400,000 payout to settle the unfair dismissal case taken by former chief executive

Howard Wells.

If the review were to find the IFA failed to follow proper procedures, there could be implications for future funding and in particular the Windsor project.

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