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Windsor Park cleared to hold Northern Ireland's European Qualifier

Northern Ireland's crucial European Qualifier against Romania in June will be played at Windsor Park with a 10,000 capacity, despite confirmation the damaged West Stand at the Belfast venue must be demolished.

Irish Football Association officials faced tough questions from members of the NI Assembly at Stormont on Monday afternoon, with chief executive Patrick Nelson saying he is confident a temporary seating plan can be implemented in time.

Structural damage was found days after thousands of supporters watched from the West Stand as Northern Ireland beat Finland 2-1. The IFA says it is too soon to know the cause of this and investigations are under way. 

"Naturally it is sad that we are having to resolve the West Stand issues in this manner, however the project team has worked tirelessly over the past three weeks to develop a plan which will enable us to play Romania in our own home in eight weeks’ time. Now the decision has been made, the focus turns to delivery," said Nelson.

The much-anticipated fixture is due to take place in less than eight weeks. A win would see Northern Ireland top the group with four games left to play.

"I attended the meetings on Friday and was impressed by the attention to detail in the plan put forward by the project team," said NI manager Michael O'Neill.

"I now look forward to the qualifier against Romania being played at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park.”

The Kingspan Stadium, home of Ulster rugby, is a category 4 UEFA stadium and is capable of hosting the match but IFA officials say no official approach was made.


Headlines for Northern Ireland this week

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  • Windsor Park cleared to hold Northern Ireland's European Qualifier


  • Northern Ireland's crucial European Qualifier against Romania in June will be played at Windsor Park with a 10,000 capacity, despite confirmation the damaged West Stand at the Belfast venue must be demolished.

  • Wales hit new ranking high of 22 as England also climb


  • Wales are up to their highest position of 22 in FIFA's latest rankings.

  • Manchester United defender Paddy McNair eager for playing return


  • Paddy McNair made his Northern Ireland debut over the international break and is now eager to return to the Manchester United first team.

  • Irish FA awaits report into Windsor Park damage


  • Northern Ireland's football bosses are awaiting a report into suspected structural damage to a stand at Windsor Park.

  • Team GB football side absence at Rio 2016 Olympics disappoints Stuart Pearce


  • Former Team GB men’s football boss Stuart Pearce has echoed the Football Association’s disappointment after the governing body abandoned plans to enter teams at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

  • Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill hails striker Kyle Lafferty


  • Michael O'Neill has hailed striker Kyle Lafferty after his two goals helped put Northern Ireland firmly on course for their first major championships since 1986.

  • Michael O'Neill says Northern Ireland one game from qualifying for Euro 2016


  • Michael O'Neill believes a win against Romania in June will secure Northern Ireland's place at next year's European Championships.

  • Northern Ireland 2-1 Finland: Kyle Lafferty double cements second spot


  • Northern Ireland enhanced their chances of qualifying for Euro 2016 as Kyle Lafferty's double gave them a 2-1 win over Finland at Windsor Park.

  • No Team GB football teams for 2016 Brazil Olympics


  • Exclusive by Bryan Swanson, Chief News Reporter

  • Michael O'Neill the best manager I've played for, says Northern Ireland's Kyle Lafferty


  • ​Kyle Lafferty says Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill is the best manager he has ever played for, after the striker scored twice in the win over Finland.

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