Page last updated at 11:51 GMT, Thursday, 26 February 2009

Minister rejects stadium claims

plan for prosposed stadum at the Maze
The sports complex will not now be built

DUP Sports Minister Gregory Campbell has rejected suggestions that pressure from his own party led him to scrap plans for a sports stadium at the Maze.

The BBC learned last month that Mr Campbell had ruled out the plan and was exploring alternatives with soccer, rugby and GAA authorities instead.

On Thursday, he told his committee the project was not value for money and did not have political consensus.

"We are now in a new ball game, we are moving on," he said.

"I wasn't under any pressure to do what I did and I would dearly like to meet the person who suggests that I was.

"If I had done, my reaction would be to respond very robustly to anyone who tried to bring me under pressure but no-one did."

Last month, it emerged that money will be given to Linfield and the IFA for an upgrade to Windsor Park so internationals can be played there until a permanent solution is found

In a recent paper to executive colleagues, Mr Campbell said the Maze plan did not enjoy sufficient political consensus, and he said a net loss to the economy of between 156m and 193m did not compensate for the non-monetary benefits which may flow from a shared stadium.

Mr Campbell said he now intended to help the three sports to develop solutions to their stadia needs.

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