Eastwood calls for investment in Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium

colum eastwood Stadium funding Sport

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood MP has expressed his concern over the recent decision by UEFA to reject Derry City Football Club's request to play their Europa Conference League qualifier at Windsor Park.

Mr Eastwood said the decision underscored the urgent need for greater investment in the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium.

He has written to UEFA highlighting the reasons for requesting the game to be played at Windsor, and asking for their support for the Brandywell’s redevelopment plans.

Foyle MP Mr Eastwood said:

“The Brandywell has served as the home of Derry City for decades, and it is disappointing that it does not currently meet the criteria set by UEFA for hosting such significant matches. Derry fans have been robbed of a famous night at the stadium with many facing a long trek to Dublin which will incur significant costs, particularly for families who give the club such great support.

“I thank the IFA and Linfield FC for their backing and allowing the game to take place at Windsor would have been a significant and historic gesture, but we need these matches being played in Derry. In recent years we have seen Irish teams make significant progression in European football and with Derry’s renewed success on the field we hope to have many big European nights to look forward to in the future. We can’t allow ourselves to end up in a position where games are being moved every year and to address this we must see the long-awaited upgrade of the Brandywell.

"Funding from the Executive’s Sub-Regional Stadia programme was earmarked for improvement works at the Brandywell, but was shelved with the collapse of the Stormont institutions amid constant delays in releasing this money. This stadium is not only used by Derry City FC, but by many teams throughout our city and region and is a key part of our sporting and cultural landscape, we need to ensure the Brandywell meets international standards and is capable of hosting major matches in future. Derry has waited long enough, these funds need to be released and in the absence of an Executive civil servants must be allowed to act."

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