UEFA stepped in to help two small Northern Irish clubs with funding after both clubs were devastated by last summer's floods. Institute FC from Londonderry and Ardstraw FC, from Co Tyrone, were left devastated by the flooding that hit the north west of northern ireland after the heavy rains flooded both grounds.

UEFA to the rescue

Institute was granted 160,880 Euros (143,000 pounds) by UEFA to help with repairs at the ground. The club who currently sit at the top of the NIFL championship need the money for urgent repairs to the pitch, changing facilities as well as the stands.

This season Institute has been sharing Wilton Park, home of Churchill United after they were granted permission to play there. Chairman Bill Anderson was delighted and conveyed the message on behalf of all the players, staff and management of the club. He thanked UEFA and the IFA for thei help with the IFA being instrumental in putting forth their case.

Ardstraw who are based in Newtownstewart , Co Tyrone were also granted 57,860 Euros (51,436 pounds) to help with their ground. Chairman Aaron Hampton was delighted with the funding which will be used to resurface the pitch as well as repairs to the clubhouse. Ardstraw play their football in the Intermediate League which is in the lower divisions of Irish football.

Summer flooding wrecks football grounds in Northern Ireland, funding granted by UEFA

The summer of 2017 saw some of the worst flooding in years in Northern Ireland. The north west was hit by two thirds of the monthly rainfall in just one night. This led to the River Faughan bursting its banks and the result was the flooding of the football grounds.

The flooding saw roads, schools and the airport closed. The rescue services were involved in many incidents with around 100 people having to be rescued from the flooding.

The fact that UEFA have stepped in to help with the repairs to two small clubs is a fantastic gesture on their behalf. This will have been noticed as the organisation is often berated for putting money first.

This small gesture will go a long way to changing perceptions especially in the North West of Ulster.

Both clubs, who have also been fundraising themselves, will now be able to put football first and with Institute sitting at the top of the table with promotion highly likely then this boost from UEFA willlet both clubs be able to put football first.

So as they say in the North, fair play to ye! UEFA!