In 2013 the third largest multi-sport event in the world is coming to Northern Ireland.
The World Police and Fire Games are conducted every two years and Belfast has been chosen to host the next tournament. The 2011 games will be held in New York from 26th August with the bar being passed to the Belfast team at their finish.
Work is already underway for the Belfast games with a new company being recently formed in order to oversee the organising. The Belfast organising committee is headed up by Mr David Ferguson who has a vast experience in event management. The first MLA to meet with Mr Ferguson was North Antrim assembly member David McIlveen.
Following the meeting Mr McIlveen said: “This event is a real opportunity to put Northern Ireland firmly on the sporting map. The World Police and Fire Games is a larger event than even the Commonwealth Games and in August 2013 conservative estimates indicate that twenty five thousand competitors and supporters will arrive here.
“Whilst we respect that this is predominantly a Belfast event, the city on its own will not be capable of housing the many visitors that will come and I want to ensure that North Antrim is firmly on the radar when the committee makes the necessary arrangements and recommendations for accommodation needs of both the competitors and their supporters. It is for this reason that I called an urgent meeting with Mr Ferguson as I believe North Antrim has a massive contribution to make in providing for the games.
“At the meeting with Mr Ferguson we discussed the many sporting venues that North Antrim has which would be more than capable of hosting both warm up and main events. We also discussed the accommodation that North Antrim can provide and the many additional tourist attractions that we believe would not only encourage the visitors to come and see North Antrim but perhaps even make an extended stay there.
“The opportunities to benefit our local economy from this event I believe are limitless and I really appreciate the support and initiative that the local chambers of commerce have shown. I do not believe that we can be too early in our preparations for this event and I look forward to a continued good relationship between North Antrim and the organising committee of the event.”