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Friday, 18 August, 2000, 10:11 GMT 11:11 UK
IFA warned over Windsor Park ground
Windsor Park
Windsor Park needs urgent improvements
Northern Ireland's Windsor Park stadium might not be fit to stage big international games in the future, the Irish Football Association have been warned.

A leading delegate from football's European governing body UEFA inspected the Belfast venue last week.

Ernie Walker, chairman of UEFA's stadia committee, said facilities at Windsor Park would soon not meet the standard required for World Cup and European Championship games.

Walker turned down Coleraine Showgrounds as the venue for Northern Ireland's Under-21 game against Malta on September 1 because the dressing room accommodation was not good enough.

Third world

The senior Northern Ireland team play the Maltese in their opening World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park the following day.

"Generally football stadia in Northern Ireland is third world," Walker said.

"In this day and age the province's grounds should have the proper facilities for top grade internationals.

"There are parts of Windsor which are acceptable but the main south stand needs to be demolished, so too does that at the railway end and be rebuilt."

Football stadia in Northern Ireland is third world
  UEFA delegate Ernie Walker

He added: "Generally the infrastructure for the public and match participants are not up to standard.

"Northern Ireland needs to make urgent representations to the Government for something to be done.

"Obviously the IFA are not in a position to fund it but let's remember other governments look upon sports stadia as they do their opera houses, museums and other cultural centres. "

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17 Aug 00 |  Northern Ireland
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17 Aug 00 |  Northern Ireland
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