Belfast Telegraph

IFA to battle France, Poland and Turkey for UEFA Super Cup

By Jonathan Bell

The Irish FA has submitted its bid to host the UEFA Super Cup final.

The association has spent three months preparing its bid for the glamour tie in 2019, which this year is between European giants Real Madrid and Manchester United.

France, Poland, Israel, Turkey, Kazakhstan and Albania have also lodged bids to host the game between Europe's two best clubs.

This year's tie is being held in Skopje, Macedonia, last year it was held in Trondheim, Norway. It features the winners of the Champions League and the Europa League.

UEFA are keen to farm the competition around its member associations with a focus on holding it in new or redeveloped football grounds.

Should Windsor get the green light it could possibly be the smallest venue to host the game of those that have submitted a bid.

A spokesman for the IFA said the prospect of Europe's elite coming to Belfast would be a massive boost for Northern Ireland and on a par with the likes of the MTV European Music Awards and the Giro d'Italia cycling event which have all paid visit to the city.

"No matter who it is, it will be Europe's biggest clubs and it will be a great advertisement for Northern Ireland Plc. And with the recent public money used to redevelop the national stadium, it will put Windsor on the map."

The spokesman said the association had received the backing of all political parties for its bid.

He added: "It has been very positive from all the political parties and Belfast City Council. We have had the leaders from the political parties at the stadium and they have just said 'what do you need,' so it's been great. The IFA was founded in 1880 and this will show us as progressive country that is moving forward."

Ulster Unionist party leader Robin Swann added: "The redevelopment of Windsor Park has delivered a stadium which all of Northern Ireland can be proud of and the new National Stadium at Windsor Park is more than capable of hosting a high profile club match like the UEFA Super Cup.

“In addition to the prestige of hosting such a showpiece game, it is estimated that the one-day event will generate approximately £2.3 million to the local economy and bring up to 10,000 travelling fans to the host city.

“I am therefore delighted to join other party leaders in adding my signature to support the bid by the IFA to host the 2019 Super Cup, and no doubt local football fans will be hoping that they will have the opportunity to see clubs of a similar stature in Belfast.”

The bid for the 2019 final is expected to be announced in later September.

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