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Last Updated: Friday, 15 June 2007, 11:46 GMT 12:46 UK
Wells warning on Windsor capacity
IFA chief executive Howard Wells
Howard Wells says urgent action is needed
IFA chief executive Howard Wells has warned that a reduction in the capacity of Windsor Park is "very likely" as a result of health and safety measures.

"New legislation will put the stadium under pressure and we would be naive to think it will not have an impact.

"It is very likely that the capacity will be reduced and that will make it very difficult to run sustainable international football," said Wells.

"We struggle to break even with the present capacity so we need some help."

"We are looking to the Government and others to help keep the numbers and capacity at the level we have currently got while we move forward with building a new facility."

The chief executive added that "we cannot sit around for another two years talking about a future home for the national team but not delivering".

"There is one option on the table at the moment and that is the Maze project but there is a school of thought that the stadium should be located somewhere else.

"I don't care where it is, nor does the IFA, as long as we get a stadium.

"If we procrastinate much longer, we will be in a situation where renovation of Windsor Park is required but there is no commitment by anyone to pay for that.

"That produces a situation where Northern Ireland playing their home matches within Northern Ireland is at risk.

"We have an offer on the table of a free facility provided by Government at the Maze and, at the moment, there are no alternatives moving forward in a way that gives us any confidence."

Wells confirmed that an audit carried out recently by Linfield Football Club indicated that there was "quite a bit of work to do" on the stadium.

"We are talking with the FAI in the hope of making a joint bid to host the 2011 Under-21 championship in Ireland.

"For that to be the case, we need a stadium which holds 20,000 or above and another which holds eight to 12 thousand and that bid needs to be submitted by June next year," said Wells.


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