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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 July 2007, 12:29 GMT 13:29 UK
Report slams Windsor Park safety
Windsor Park
It is understood the report criticises safety standards at Windsor Park
A damning report on the state of Northern Ireland's international football venue Windsor Park is expected to be published in the next month.

The report by stadium designers the Miller Partnership is understood to say it doesn't meet with safety standards and is in a poor state of repair.

In particular there are problems with fire safety at the Belfast ground.

There are also major problems with disability access and maintenance is described as very poor.

It's understood that as a result of information in the draft report a fire tender has been parked beside the South Stand for Northern Ireland's last two international games.

The BBC also understands that the old Railway Stand at the stadium was closed for international games as a result of the report's initial findings.

The IFA's insurers refused to insure the stand after reading the report.

There is also criticism of the moat in front of the North Stand.

We made it clear we would only work with the government with a view to moving towards a new stadium if there was going to be continuing resources made available to keep Windsor Park up to standard

IFA chief executive Howard Wells

A source said: "Most of the report is not complimentary, in fact you would be hard pushed to say any of it is complimentary."

There are also said to be problems with the West Stand, which was only built a few years ago, and the 6,000 capacity North Stand, where part of the roof blew off in the Christmas period.

It is generally thought there are three options for the way forward.

Firstly, repair Windsor Park in the interim while a new stadium is being built.

This would cost between 2 and 5m and is contingent on concrete plans for a new stadium to be built.

Secondly, repair the ground to an acceptable standard for its present capacity of 14,000, replacing the Railway and South Stands for an estimated 20m.

Finally, rebuild the ground to a comfortable but not luxurious standard with a capacity of 25,000 for an estimated 40m.

The 300-page draft report, which was completed earlier this year, was commissioned by Windsor Park's owners Linfield football club but paid for by the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure.

Irish FA chief executive Howard Wells
Howard Wells says the government must provide funds for Windsor

Reacting to the news, Irish FA chief executive Howard Wells called for government funding to keep Windsor Park up to standard.

"We made it very clear that we would only work with the government with a view to moving towards a new stadium if there was going to be continuing resources made available form the public purse to keep Windsor Park up to a standard which would enable us to carry on international football there," added the IFA official.

The IFA's agreement with Windsor Park's owners, Linfield Football Club, to stage internationals at the ground stretches for another 80 years.

Earlier this week a legal expert told BBC Sport that the IFA hadn't "sufficiently addressed the issue of termination" when it signed the contract back in 1984.

However, the contract does state that the grounds' trustees "should ensure that Windsor Park and its stands....are in good order, repair and condition" and this may offer the IFA an exit strategy from the unprecedented deal - although this is far from certain.

The agreement gives Linfield FC 15 per cent of the money the IFA makes from tickets sales, advertising around the ground and TV rights connected with internationals.

At the moment, that works out at approximately 400,000 a year.



SEE ALSO
Wells warning on Windsor capacity
15 Jun 07 |  Northern Ireland
Warning over Windsor Park
09 Dec 03 |  Northern Ireland
IFA warned over Windsor Park ground
18 Aug 00 |  Northern Ireland


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