JUST days before Euro 2024 kicks off in Germany, GAA President Jarlath Burns says he is resigned to the prospect that games in the tournament in four years time will not be played at Casement Park.

That would effectively mean that Belfast will miss out on hosting the Euros in 2028.

The redevelopment of the Andersonstown stadium has been marred with delays for more than a decade. Further delays over the final cost of the redevelopment and who will bridge the widening funding gap have pushed the start date back further.

Burns was speaking at the launch of the All-Ireland hurling championship at the Michael Cusack Centre in Carran, Co Clare on Tuesday and said he did not now envisage soccer matches being played in Belfast as part of the tournament.

“It’s not looking as if we’re going to get the Euros,” he said. “Having attended the final of the Europa League in the Aviva, I can see what UEFA brings to a stadium and to an event.

“West Belfast deserves that and we’re not getting it. It’s just a great pity because the carrot was dangled in front of us and then it was taken away.

“As somebody who was born and reared in Northern Ireland with a particular affinity to West Belfast, because that’s where my wife (Suzanne) is from, I would have felt that it would have had the same impact as U2 playing in Sarajevo at the end of their Zoo TV tour, having spent most of that tour reporting from war-torn Sarajevo.

"It was sending out the message that this city is now back, it’s now a modern, major European city.

“The big loser here is going to be the game of soccer in Northern Ireland society and the economy.

"The Department for the Economy was waiting to weigh in with all sorts of other things that were going to come from there.

"It’s just a pity but we’re still very hopeful and expectant that we’re going to get the funds to make a provincial stadium where we can play our Ulster finals.”

Burns says the timeline from UEFA for the stadium means it is unlikely to be ready for Euro 2028.

“The whole project is being run by the Strategic Investment Board and they have been telling us that in order to get the tenders in and to find out what it’s going to cost, it’s going to take six weeks,” he added.

“And then there’s going to have to be another four weeks for appeals to that. We’re working away, we’re clearing the site and that. But at the end of the day, it’s UEFA and their timelines are important.

“It has to be up and running for almost a year before you can actually say that it’s properly functional, so I’m now pessimistic that the Euros will be played in Casement Park.

“There’s an election in the North and whenever an election is called, you enter into what we call purdah, where governments are not allowed to make big donations or big announcements. It’s very handy for the Conservative government that they get out of having to do it.

"The Gaelic Athletic Association will always be in a very precarious position when we find ourselves depending on the goodwill of the British government.

"It’s never worked out for us before. I’m very, very disappointed with the pace of how it’s gone.”

On Monday during questions in Stormont Deputy First Minister Emma Little-Pengelly refused to commit to raising funding for the redeveloped Casement Park with the British Government.