An Irish League football club has secured High Court permission for a legal challenge to missing out on the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund.
Crusaders FC was granted leave to seek a judicial review of its unsuccessful bid for investment in plans to benefit the local community in north Belfast.
Lawyers for the club claim the process under which projects were awarded funding was procedurally unfair.
Billions of pounds have been allocated to schemes across the UK under Levelling Up, the Government’s flagship regional development plan.
The policy is aimed at improving economic performance outside the south east of England.
In January this year it was announced that 10 projects in Northern Ireland are to receive more than £71m as part of the latest round of funding.
Crusaders missed out on financial assistance for plans, which included the building of a Shore Road Skills Centre.
The north Belfast club was aiming to provide a hub for wellness, sport, community outreach and education in the area.
Issues have now been raised about the ministerial decision-making process for Northern Ireland bids and how criteria were applied.
Legal proceedings were brought against the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, headed by Secretary of State Michael Gove.
In court today Mr Justice Scoffield confirmed he was granting Crusaders FC leave to apply for judicial review on the basis it had established an arguable case on some grounds of challenge.
No further details about any alleged flaws in the funding process were disclosed during the brief hearing.
The judge listed the case for a full hearing in October.
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