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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 February 2008, 17:47 GMT
Maze stadium 'best option': study
Plans for the Maze prison site
How the Maze site could look
Northern Ireland's national stadium should be built on the site of the former Maze Prison, according to a leaked consultants report.

The Press Association says it has seen a copy of the report by consultants from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

It is currently being reviewed by Finance Minister Peter Robinson, before being passed to Executive colleagues.

PA says it recommends the government go ahead with plans for the all-seater venue at the Maze site.

The Gaelic Athletic Association, Irish Football Association and Ulster Rugby have all confirmed they would play games at the venue.

The site is just outside Lisburn in County Antrim.

The consultants said the venue had the potential to generate significant revenue and claimed that the overall cost to the taxpayer after the first four years of operation would be 37m.

This was based on the 38,500-seat stadium hosting 23 major sporting and music events in a year and attracting just under 500,000 paying spectators.

Other options examined included a hypothetical stadium in north Belfast and the refurbishment of the three sporting bodies' existing venues. The report said there would be many benefits to a venue at Belfast's north foreshore, but ruled it out on cost grounds.

"Hypothetically such an option would generate high visitor spending benefits because it is located closer to the city centre, but these are outweighed by the capital and infrastructure costs and the higher value of this site," the report is quoted as saying.

The Maze site is opposed by some unionists due to plans to build a conflict transformation centre alongside the stadium and by many NI football fans who want any new stadium to be in Belfast.

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