Belfast Telegraph

Euro 2016 fanzone plea to Belfast Belsonic organisers for Northern Ireland clash with France or Wales

By Jonny Bell

Belsonic organisers have been urged to work out a way of hosting the Northern Ireland Euro 2016 knock-out round clash over the weekend at the Titanic slipways in Belfast.

Northern Ireland will play either Wales on early Saturday evening or hosts France on Sunday afternoon for their round of 16 clash.

Thousands of Green and White Army supporters have descended on the new Belsonic venue at the Titanic Slipways to watch the team's group games for free on the big screen.

However, at the weekend the venue is playing host to Biffy Clyro on Saturday and David Guetta on Sunday as part of the Belsonic festival.

Belsonic organisers have been pleased with the success of showing the Euro 2016 games at the slipways, however, they face a number of hurdles to be able to show the Northern Ireland games, if at all.

They are meeting on Wednesday to discuss their options and an announcement is expected on what they can do in the afternoon.

Belfast councillor and High Sheriff, Jim Rodgers has appealed to the organisers to work out a way of showing the game.

"The showing of the games at the Titanic Slipways has been an incredible success," he said.

"Many people have been saying to me what a great success. The crowds have been unbelievable and it's great to see so many people from all walks of life going down to watch the game - all in their green.

"It's a fantastic venue."

He added: "However, I know this may have been a problem with the team's potential progression and the hosting of the games over the weekend.

"I'm a realist and understand that it may just not be possible at this stage.

"But I would hope that the organisers will look at it and work out whatever way they can to stage the game.

"It would be one of the biggest crowds ever."

Councillor Rodgers, however, ruled out the possibility of the game being shown on the big screen at Belfast City Hall over concerns of potential crowd trouble.

"That was the concern when we considered this before the tournament," he said.

"The fans have been a real credit to themselves - both Republic and Northern Ireland fans - in the way they have conducted themselves in France and here at home.

"I know of fans who have been able to walk through areas they would not normally walk through in their football tops and that is a positive thing.

"And of course credit has to go to Michael O'Neill and his assistant Jimmy Nicholl for the wonders they have worked in the actual games - it's a real boost for Belfast and Northern Ireland."

Jim, however, is hoping for Wales in the next round, rather that hosts France - who have been tipped to win the competition.

He added: "No matter who it is they will have to be at their best and they can do it.

"It will be a great sporting occasion, no matter what. The Wales fans are incredible, but the Green and White Army can match them on the singing front."

Belfast Telegraph Digital