Minister Lyons hosts visit of UK Sports Minister

Date published: 04 March 2024


Minister Gordon Lyons has held discussions with UK Sports Minister Stuart Andrew on the development of football at all levels in Northern Ireland.

Communities Minister Gordon Lyons, Rathmore Grammar School Principal Dr Arthur Donnelly and UK Sports Minister Stuart Andrew

Following a series of engagements at grassroots and performance clubs, Minister Lyons said:

“I was pleased to host the visit today of the UK Sports Minister Stuart Andrew, in line with the commitment on the Sub Regional Programme for Football set out in the Safeguarding the Union Command Paper. 

“We have heard the passion and enthusiasm of those engaged in the game, from young players to leaders in sporting organisations.

“The demand for change is clear at all levels of the game.”

The Ministers visited Rathmore School, Cliftonville FC and Glentoran FC and saw players of all abilities participating in games.

Minister Lyons added:

“It was great for us both to see the importance of grassroots investment and the Sub Regional Programme for Football first hand. By investing in sport, we are also investing in lives. It has the power to bring people together, as players on the pitch and as fans in the stands. There is a real opportunity here to maximise the health, social and economic benefits.

“I look forward to continuing the dialogue with Minister Andrew and with all our local stakeholders and partners on ensuring the right supports are in place to grow the game in a sustainable way.”

Sports Minister Stuart Andrew said:

“Sport is vital to our physical and mental wellbeing which is why we’re investing more than £325 million UK-wide to give people access to high-quality grassroots sports facilities. 

“This includes support in Northern Ireland and it was good to meet with Minister Lyons to hear of their plans to build on this further and strengthen the grassroots right up to the elite levels of the game.”

The Ministers met with representatives from NIFL, IFA and local clubs as part of the visit.

Notes to editors: 

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  3. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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