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Last Updated: Sunday, 28 January 2007, 17:57 GMT
Windsor Park judged a 'fire risk'
Windsor Park
Windsor Park is scheduled to host the NI-Wales game on 6 February
An independent report looking at Windsor Park's suitability for international football will say that the stadium is a significant fire risk.

A large section of Windsor's South Stand is a wooden structure and the report will warn of the dangers of a serious fire breaking out.

The report could also have implications for stadium owners Linfield's latest Uefa licence application.

The Irish Football Association will get a copy of the report on Monday.

IFA chief executive Howard Wells told BBC Sport that he would not be making any comment on the issue until he saw the report, which was commissioned by Linfield and funded by the Sports Council for Northern Ireland.

A report in the Sunday Life suggested that Linfield and the IFA appeared confident that the government would be prepared to pay for "patching up" Windsor in the short-term but BBC Sport understands that this is by no means certain.

Northern Ireland's next home game is against Wales on 6 February and last month the IFA said it was confident that the game would go ahead despite concerns caused by storm damage to the North Stand over the Christmas period.

I've always been staggered that smoking has been allowed there

IFA chief Howard Wells on Windsor Park's South Stand

However, IFA chief Wells did acknowledge his concerns about the wooden structure in the stadium's south stand.

"You wouldn't need to be a rocket scientist to know that you've got a problem (with the South Stand)," said the IFA chief.

"I've always been staggered that smoking has been allowed there but that has been a problem with legislation in Northern Ireland which has been beyond our control."

Concerns over Windsor Park come amid increased government urgency in regard to the Maze Stadium project.

Last week, the Mott MacDonald HOK Sport Team was announced as the winner of the international competition to design the multi-sports arena.

However, the government will not make the final decision until the end of the year on whether to build the stadium although the football, rugby and GAA governing bodies have all committed to the project.

But in the meantime, there will be increasing concerns about Windsor Park's suitability for Northern Ireland games given that its current capacity of 14,000 could be reduced to a figure which would make internationals unviable.

BBC Sport understands that Linfield's latest application for a Uefa licence is scheduled to be made before the end of this month.



SEE ALSO
Warning over Windsor Park
09 Dec 03 |  Northern Ireland
IFA warned over Windsor Park ground
18 Aug 00 |  Northern Ireland


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