A FORMER senior strategist within UEFA has confirmed planning for Euro 2028 is “going ahead without Northern Ireland” due to the uncertainty over the redevelopment of Casement Park.

Ian Mallon told BBC Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster programme that a senior person within the organisation involved in the planning for the 2028 tournament confirmed Northern Ireland will not be part of hosting the competition.

Casement Park has been named as one of the host stadiums for Euro 2028 which is being held across UK and Ireland.

“In advance of today's interview I contacted a very senior person who is involved operationally in Euro 2028, very senior," he said.

"I said to him would it be fair if I go on this breakfast programme in the morning to say Northern Ireland would not be part of it, and I just got back a simple ‘yep’. This is a guy I trust.”

It comes as the shadow Secretary of State Hillary Benn has ruled out signing a “blank cheque” to the redevelopment of the West Belfast venue if as predicted Labour form the next government in Westminster.

When quizzed also on the programme, Mr Benn refused to give any commitment to the project on behalf of Labour.

"I can’t give a blank cheque and you wouldn't expect me to given the huge rise in the costs there have been and we don’t yet know what the full sum is,” he said.

"What I do commit to do is to sit down urgently with all the parties and say there is a responsibility on the UK government to make a contribution, but can the other parties contribute more and where would that leave [it] in terms of the overall cost.”