Belfast Telegraph

Result... flood-hit Northern Ireland football clubs get £200k Uefa handout

By Adrian Rutherford

Two football clubs hit by severe floods last summer have received a major cash boost.

Institute FC, based in Drumahoe near Londonderry, and Ardstraw FC near Newtownstewart in Co Tyrone, were both badly affected after heavy rain deluged the north west.

The two have now received grants from Uefa, European football's governing body.

Institute FC, who play in the NIFL Championship, have been awarded €160,880 (£143,000) while Ardstraw, of the Intermediate League, received €57,860 (£51,436).

The floods last August saw almost two-thirds of the north west's average monthly rain fall in one night.

The region - particularly Derry city and other parts of the county - was the worst affected in Northern Ireland, while Co Tyrone was also badly hit.

At the Riverside Stadium, Institute's home ground, the pitch, changing room and stands were devastated by water damage.

The club had to move out of Drumahoe completely this season as a result and is playing at Wilton Park, home of North West Junior League club Churchill United.

Institute chairman Bill Anderson said: "The officials, management and players at Institute FC are absolutely delighted with this assistance.

"I would like to thank Uefa for granting it and the Irish Football Association for making the case on our behalf.

"This money will be significant in our future plans for the club as we seek to build a new home for Institute FC." At Ardstraw FC, water engulfed the ground's perimeter fencing, pitch and changing facilities.

The club has spent the past seven months fundraising to help restore the ground to its former condition.

Aaron Hempton, Ardstraw's chairman, said: "It's great that European football's governing body is concerned about a small intermediate club in Northern Ireland and saw fit to give this award.

"We are delighted and will use the funding to restore our pitch and clubhouse."

IFA president David Martin said: "Our membership of Uefa means that we were able to draw attention to the difficulties that the two clubs had endured and I am pleased that European football's governing body responded so comprehensively."

Belfast Telegraph

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