Council considering Euro 2016 ‘fan zones’

Local Northern Ireland fans unable to get to France for the Euros might be able to get together for the matches in designated 'fan zones.'
Local Northern Ireland fans unable to get to France for the Euros might be able to get together for the matches in designated 'fan zones.'

The Times understands that two designated ‘fan zones’ could be set up in the borough for local football supporters to watch Northern Ireland’s Euro 2016 matches this summer.

The move comes after a motion was proposed in October by Cllr Phillip Brett and Cllr David Arthurs, to broadcast Northern Ireland’s matches live at public sites in Antrim and Newtownabbey.

It is believed that the venues selected to be potential fan zones during the tournament are Mossley Mill and Antrim Castle Gardens.

A decision on creating the fan zones and broadcasting the games is expected to be taken at the council’s Operations Committee meeting at Antrim Civic Centre on Tuesday, March 1.

Welcoming the possibility of the fan zones being introduced, Cllr Brett said: “Given the importance of the qualification and the huge support for Northern Ireland throughout the borough, it is important the council properly marks the event.”

The DUP representative added: “The fan zones will allow supporters from across the borough to come together to cheer on Northern Ireland.”

The tournament, which kicks off on Friday, June 10, will see the Green and White Army compete at their first finals since the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

Michael O’Neill’s team will take on Poland in Nice on June 12, before a tie against Ukraine in Lyon on June 16 and a final group game against world champions Germany in Paris on June 21.

There have been calls for the council to create fan zones in the borough, with one local fan launching an online petition in recent days to show support for the introduction of the zones.