Belfast Telegraph

Crusaders withdraw objections to Windsor

By Graham Luney

Crusaders have struck a deal with the Irish Football Association that has paved the way for the redevelopment of Windsor Park to proceed.

There was a danger the much need reconstruction work would be shelved after the Shore Road club engaged in a legal battle with the association.

Crusaders had won the right for a Judicial Review in relation to the government money earmarked for the ground owned by Linfield.

However, the north Belfast club has now abandoned their legal dispute with the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure.

The Crues argued that the Blues' financial resources gave them an unfair advantage in the Danske Bank Premiership which is now run by the Northern Ireland Football League.

A joint statement signed by Crusaders chairman Stephen Bell and Irish FA chief-executive Patrick Nelson read: "The Irish Football Association and Crusaders Football Club have concluded an agreement which enables Crusaders FC to withdraw a Judicial Review taken against the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure over the redevelopment of Windsor Park.

"Crusaders FC welcome the agreement with the Irish FA for an increase in the funding to be made available to NIFL from 2015. NIFL will manage the division and distribution of this finance, in order to support sporting integrity and competitive balance within the Premier League.

"The current NIFL contract which ends in 2017 will be renegotiated in 2016 for five-year periods thereafter and the sporting integrity and competitive balance element will be renegotiated on the same basis."

The statement adds: "On the removal of the Judicial Review the Irish FA is hoping that building work on the Windsor Park redevelopment will start later this year and the international stadium will be completed in 2015."

Belfast Telegraph

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