The Harps GoFundMe campaign to fund necessary improvements to Finn Park to allow the return of football has made a fantastic start with over one quarter of the €30,000 target already raised. Harps fans have backed the club once more, as well as fans from around the league especially Shamrock Rovers and Dundalk pitching in to help as well. We are hugely grateful to all who have contributed so far. We have received a lot of messages since the launch, so are providing this Q+A to help answer the most common questions around this initiative.
1. When are we going to be back playing in Finn Park?
Dates for return of the League remain under discussion but we are aiming to be ready to host matches from August which is likely to be the earliest start date for the league. Being forced to play at other venues, especially in the event that supporters are allowed to attend games again, is something we wish to avoid at all costs.
2. When can supporters return to Finn Park?
This will be a government decision. We note however that the Taoiseach has said there could be outdoor gatherings of up to 5000 from September and that moves are happening to reopen the hospitality industry.
3. What works are required?
Primarily we need additional space to accommodate players and officials changing and preparation in a COVID compliant manner, with suitable distancing arrangements as with any workplace. This will involve modifications to existing dressing rooms as well as provision of additional temporary space with a new modular building. Provision of an improved medical room is also included, while disinfection measures and hygiene facilities will also be provided or improved.
4. What happens if the league doesn’t return in 2020?
We remain extremely hopeful of a return of football in some form in 2020, however with public health measures including social distancing predicted to be with us for some time to come we recognise that our current changing facilities are not likely to be acceptable even in the 2021 season. Our away dressing room has very limited floor space and is simply not viable for use while providing any level of COVID19 risk management.
5. Does this work have any impact on the proposed new stadium project?
No. These measures are solely related to making Finn Park compliant with HSE and FAI guidelines to host matches and do not address the other infrastructural issues at Finn Park to comply with FAI and UEFA Infrastructure Criteria going forward. Provision of additional floor space will be in the form of temporary accommodation, which can be resold or utilised at the new stadium complex or academy grounds in the future.
To help bring football home to Finn Park, donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/hometofinnpark
More information on this initiative is HERE