Northern Ireland

Windsor Park: IFA say engineer's report may come after Easter

Windsor Park building work close up
Image caption Building work behind the stand has been ongoing in recent weeks

An update on the condition of the west stand at Windsor may not happen until after Easter, the IFA has said.

It is waiting for the results of a structural engineers' report to determine possible subsidence.

Cracks in its structure were spotted on Tuesday.

Linfield football club announced on Thursday that Saturday's game against Crusaders and its match against Glenavon on Saturday 4 April will not be staged at Windsor Park.

Linfield said the club was seeking to rearrange both fixtures and further details would be provided once the arrangements had been confirmed.

The engineers' report is expected to say whether the stand can be refurbished and included in the new redeveloped national stadium, or if it will have to be flattened.

That scenario, or indeed lengthy repairs, would have major long-term implications regarding cost and timescale, and would also affect major fixtures.

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Media captionCrowd safety expert Andrew McQuillan said a temporary stadium is not feasible

The Irish Cup final in just over four weeks' time could also be affected, while the crunch European Championship qualifier between Northern Ireland and Romania is just 72 days away.

Ballymena Showgrounds has already been mentioned privately as a potential cup final venue.

Whether the IFA would approach Ulster rugby about the possibility of using Kingspan Stadium, if required, remains unknown.

On Wednesday, the Northern Ireland Supporters Club chairman called for a meeting with the Irish Football Association to discuss the closure and the implications if some matches could not go ahead.

Building work behind the stand has been ongoing in recent weeks as part of the redevelopment of the area around Windsor Park, but it is not known if this is directly related.

The stand was filled to capacity with Northern Ireland fans on Sunday for the Euro 2016 qualifier victory over Finland.

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