FINN HARPS HAVE had to give Finn Park a transformation ahead of their return to the League of Ireland Premier Division.
Following their promotion back to the top flight in November, Harps have had to carry out a range of works to the Navenny Street venue to bring into into line with the Football Association of Ireland’s licencing requirements.
Harps have sought a derogation on three sections of the licencing document: seating capacity, floodlighting and the dressing rooms.
Works are at an advanced stage to bring those areas up to scratch.
“Provided we have carried out the works that we have proposed, the ground won’t be an issue,” Finn Harps’ Infrastructural Co-Ordinator Trevor Gordon told a public forum last night in the Clanree Hotel.
“Those were the only three areas that we didn’t hit the category two.
“The FAI are keen to have our facilities for professional players in a reasonable condition so we have to do the refurbishment.”
Harps have only 350 seats at Finn Park, which falls a good bit short of the FAI’s stipulated 1,500 for Premier Division games but with works underway on Harps’ new stadium in Stranorlar they will be given a pardon.
Gordon is not a member of the Ground Development Committee but told last night’s forum: “We have contact ongoing between the Ground Development Committee, the FAI and the local representatives.
“The Ground Development Committee are frustrated that it hasn’t had more progress, but hopefully the promotion will have given it a bit of impetus.
“Where it stands now is basically when the Department confirms that funding is available, it will go back to site.”
Finn Park’s floodlights are shy of the lux capacity as stated in the FAI licence documents, but Harps have expressed confidence that they can get them to a satisfactory level.
An FAI delegation, including licencing officer Richard Fahy, visited Finn Park in the off-season to carry out an inspection of the Ballybofey ground and their findings were relayed to Harps officials.
The dressing rooms and showers – ‘they wouldn’t be state of the art’ as Gordon noted – were the main item on the to-do list.
“We are well through that work now, thanks to Seamus Gallagher and his team for looking after that,” Gordon said.
Harps also have to install a new medical room and a new control room at Finn Park with a list of 23 minor improvements to be carried out before Harps play host to Derry City on Friday, March 4.
That game is expected to be a sell-out with a new crush barrier at the Town End, which has been sponsored by Bonnar Engineering, adding an extra 600 to the ground’s capacity, which now sits at 4,500.Tags: