World Police and Fire Games: Kings Hall to host opening ceremony
The opening ceremony of the World Police and Fire Games in Northern Ireland will be held at the Kings Hall in Belfast.
The games are billed as the third largest international multi-sport event in the world.
Ten thousand competitors and 15,000 visitors are expected to visit Northern Ireland for the games.
The Ulster Branch of the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) had ruled out the use of Ravenhill earlier this month.
John Tully, Chief Executive, 2013 WPFG Ltd said: "The opening ceremony is the key official event during the games, providing an opportunity to officially welcome athletes and their families to the host city.
"It is one of the many requirements of the World Police and Fire Games Federation that this ceremony is held to mark the beginning of ten days of competition and camaraderie.
"Whilst Belfast City Council have been working very hard on the content of the ceremony, it was equally important that the location would provide the right environment and opportunity to set the tone for the international multi-sport event and contribute to our goal of delivering the friendliest games ever.
"We are confident that the King's Hall will provide the perfect location to stage the athletes parade and begin a ten day showcase of all that is best about Northern Ireland."
Sports minister Carál Ní Chuilín said: "In recent times we have shown how the north is capable of hosting major occasions. From the MTV Music Awards, Titanic Centenary, Irish Open Golf through to the ongoing City of Culture celebrations.
"I am confident that we will add the World Police and Fire Games to the list of memorable events. It is once again an opportunity to show the world what we have to offer."
Alistair Magowan, the director of marketing for the games, said: "The Kings hall is an excellent venue - good public transport, plenty of room on site and great cover for mustering the athletes.
"We had involved obviously Belfast City Council, our colleagues in DCAL and indeed the Police and Fire Games Federation who had seen all the sites when they visited in August.
"They've very much been part of the decision and they're delighted and it really does mean we can mould the content of the ceremony into our site at Kings Hall and that's what we'll be doing in the next few weeks."