Sports

Funding now the key says chairman Lecky

Thursday, 12 January 2017

DERGVIEW club chairman, Roy Lecky, has reiterated the need for funding following the announcment that Derry City and Strabane District Council have backed a proposal to upgrade the club's facilities at Darragh Park in Castlederg.

The essential improvements will mean that Darragh Park can be upgraded to meet the required standards for participation in the NIFL Championship and Premiership, subject to funding.

"The planning was great to get but we need to get the back-up with our funding," said Lecky. That would be wonderful news if we could get a bit closer with that.

"We've waited a long time for something like this. It's been our dream to do this. It's exciting that its close to coming off.

Darragh Park has often been badly affected by periods of bad weather that have lead to flooding damage. This has disrupted lots of the club's fixtures in recent seasons, and has been seen as a stumbling block in terms of Dergview's ascension to the Danske Bank Premiership.

"Our facilities were just about getting us through, and nothing more," said Lecky. "Certainly if we can get new facilities it will be a big advantage to draw in players and things like that.

"It'd also be a tremendous boost to the youth in the area. It'll be something to look forward to and have a bit of pride in.

"The next step is to get backed up with the funding, thats the key point now. We've done all the spadework and have everything ready in that way."

 

IFA grant

A 36million raft of funding for local football ground improvement and development had been proposed in 2015 by the Government, but has just recently been put on hold amid legal concerns that have arisen.

The much needed grant aid had been long awaited, and was due to have been announced by Communities Minister Paul Givan in mid-December, however this has now been put back while the process undergoes stringent legal checks to ensure the allocation is legally fair and transparent.

Irish FA sources say this is understandable in the light of the financial controversies that have embroiled Stormont, notably the Renewable Heat Initiative and NAMA, and that football chiefs remain confident the funding will soon be made available, albeit with some possible adjustments.

While the money will primarily be shared among Dankse Bank Premiership clubs, some clubs further down that are acutely in need of new or improved ground facilities, such as Dergview, will also benefit from the proposed funding. Glentoran had been promised 10 million to rejuvenate the Oval, while a National Training Centre, operated by the IFA, was also on the wish list.

It is believed that the Glens grant was the subject of legal concerns, but both the department and footballing bodies hope the procedure of the funding will not undergo anymore hang-ups.

"We are waiting on this 36million that has supposed to have been released from the IFA, but there seems to be another spanner in the works, so everything is held back. We're hoping Sport NI will come on and the local council as well," said Lecky.

"We have a lot of support in Castlederg from all down the years, and we hope that can continue. However we'll need bigger help than that as well. The sooner we have it completed the better.

"It's brilliant news to have come this far, but if the funding comes now it will be even better."

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