‘Warrenpoint FC success is evidence of need for new approach to primacy rule’, insists McKevitt
SDLP MLA Karen McKevitt has spoken during an Assembly debate on the need to promote greater sharing and integration of facilities for soccer.
“We are in an austere financial period, the sharing and integration of sporting facilities is absolutely critical to the survival of some clubs, and provides great encouragement for others to provide new facilities,” McKevitt insisted.
“My concern is that we – as an elected body involve ourselves, or attempt to legislate in the management and workings of a sporting body. So approaches and dealings with the Sporting Authority need to be conducted in a very diplomatic fashion and with decorum.
“We often hear that ‘Politics and Sport do not mix’, and they don’t. There are clubs within the soccer fraternity who are experiencing severe restrictions due to the ‘primacy rule’ which they consider outdated and unreasonable.
“Most of us who have followed the arguments for example; made by Newington Youth Football Club in their appeals to the rule have great sympathy to their plight. So a sensitive, common sense solution going forward should be found.
The SDLP MLA continued, “I want to pay tribute to the success of Warrenpoint Town FC, who just 3 weeks ago gained promotion to the Premier League. The club is to be congratulated for their dedication and hard work both on and off the field in bringing this small club to the top flight of NI Soccer.
“This club too, experienced difficulties because their ground does not meet IFA Premiership criteria. They have agreed ground sharing with Dungannon Swifts and will start their Premier career by playing all their games away from home.
“This club ‘did not sit back on their laurels’ and immediately set out on an action plan to bring their ground up to standard.
“Within a short period this club with the help of Newry and Mourne Council, agreed a development plan to have the ground meet the criteria. I know the club is looking forward to welcoming the top premier teams to Warrenpoint before Christmas.
McKevitt added, “Warrenpoint Town is certainly an example to other clubs that hard work and dedication will bring success.”
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