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Deal paves way for Belfast stadium revamp

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Belfast's Windsor Park is to undergo a major overhaul after Linfield Football Club (LFC) confirmed a new agreement for its use as Northern Ireland's national football stadium.

LFC has been involved in talks with the Irish Football Association; Sport Northern Ireland; and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure (DCAL) over the venue's future use.

The agreement now paves the way for £110m of DCAL funding to be released towards the redevelopment of the province's three main sports venues - including Windsor Park.

Under the proposals, Windsor Park will be transformed into an 18,000-seat venue by 2015 and will incorporate new-look facilities for players, supporters and staff.

Windsor Park will remain under the ownership of LFC following the agreement, with a 51-year lease negotiated. The revamp design and planning phase is to run until next year.

LFC chair Jim Kerr said in a statement: "The successful outcome of this, pending final sign off, will now allow local football to have its share of the £110m provided by government.

"We know that a brighter future for Linfield and for football in Northern Ireland will result from this vital development."

Northern Ireland Executive funding will also help Ulster Rugby revamp Ravenhill Stadium and the Ulster Council of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) to upgrade Casement Park.

It is also believed that £36.2m of funding will go towards stadium redevelopment schemes at other venues across Northern Ireland, with Derry City reported to be among them.

Details: www.linfieldfc.com

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Belfast's Windsor Park is to undergo a major overhaul after Linfield Football Club (LFC) confirmed a new agreement for its use as Northern Ireland's national football stadium.
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