Northern Ireland news

Casement Park 'not linked' to 2030 Fifa World Cup bid, Stormont officials say

Casement Park has been closed since 2013. This is what the new one will resemble should the GAA get planning permission
Brendan Hughes

THE Casement Park redevelopment project is "not linked" to a proposed joint 2030 Fifa World Cup bid, a Stormont department has said.

It follows a report in the Sunday Times that the GAA ground was set to be put forward as the sole Northern Ireland venue to host games under the proposals.

Ireland and Britain's football associations are reportedly discussing a potential joint bid to host the World Cup.

Ulster GAA first announced its plan to build a major new stadium a decade ago, but the troubled project has faced numerous setbacks.

Revised stadium plans for the west Belfast ground were submitted in 2017 and have yet to receive planning permission.

In a statement, the Department for Communities yesterday said the "plans to build a new stadium at Casement Park are not linked to the 2030 FIFA World Cup" and are "exclusively the remit" of its Regional Stadia Programme.

"Since this programme commenced in 2012, the Kingspan Stadium has been completed for Ulster Rugby and the new National Football Stadium at Windsor Park has been completed for the IFA," a spokeswoman said.

"The Ulster Council GAA submitted a new planning application for the Casement Park redevelopment which continues to be assessed by the relevant authorities."

In March it emerged the projected cost of the new Casement Park stadium has risen to £110 million – over 40 per cent more than the £77.5m originally budgeted.

Stormont had pledged £62.5m with the GAA providing £15m, but GAA chiefs have asked for more public money to help plug the £32.5m shortfall.

Civil servants say they cannot allocate more funding without ministerial approval.

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