Northern Ireland

Casement Park - the twists and turns to hosting Euros 2028 continues

Ireland and the UK were announced as Euro 2028 hosts last year

A computer-generated image of how Casement Park will look when the new stadium is built.
A computer-generated image of how Casement Park will look when the new stadium is built.

Casement Park in west Belfast is among the eight venues due to host matches during the 2028 European Football Championships.

But plans to build a 34,000 capacity stadium have been in the pipeline for more than 10 years.

2006: Plans unveiled to build a new 42,500-seater stadium for soccer, rugby, and Gaelic games at the site of the former Maze prison, with the provisional backing of the GAA.

January 2009: DUP sports minister Gregory Campbell scraps Maze stadium plan in favour of the three main sports’ ruling bodies developing their own stadium proposals.

March/April 2009: Ulster GAA proposes Casement Park is upgraded, accommodating 40,000 fans.

March 2011: Stormont agrees funding for major upgrades to three Belfast sports grounds - Casement, Ravenhill and Windsor.

December 2013: SDLP environment minister Mark H Durkan grants planning approval for 38,000-capacity Casement stadium.

December 2014: High Court quashes Casement planning approval after residents’ legal challenge.

April 2015: Safety expert tells Stormont committee he faced “undue pressure” to approve the plans and accuses departmental officials of bullying.

August 2015: A report describes “broken” relationships behind the scenes of the Casement plans, and makes a series of recommendations on reviving the project.

February 2017: Ulster GAA submits its revised Casement planning application with a reduced capacity of around 34,000.

December 2018: New business case submitted by Ulster GAA to Department for Communities on the Casement project, with estimated cost of around £110m.

October 2020: Infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon recommends approval for the redevelopment of the stadium.

July 2021: Casement Park stadium given formal approval. Mooreland and Owenvaragh Residents Association (MORA) launched a last-minute attempt to block the stadium’s development.

May 2022: MORA lost its legal challenge.

October 2023: - Ireland and UK announced as EURO 2028 hosts.

November 2023: Ulster GAA announces Heron Bros Limited, its long-standing construction contractor, will not proceed to deliver the main works contract for the new Casement Park.

Contractors with excavators at Casement Park
Contractors with excavators at Casement Park (Liam McBurney/PA)

February 2024: Initial site works at Casement Park gets underway. UEFA officials visit the west Belfast site. Irish government pledges €50 million (£42.7 million) for the redevelopment of the stadium under Shared Island funding.

May 2024: Rishi Sunak says the British government will make a ‘significant contribution’ to Casement Park.