A proposal to build a 42,000-seater sports stadium on the site of the old Maze Prison near Lisburn in Co Antrim received a significant boost last night.

At a meeting in Belfast the Irish Football Association is understood to have agreed to support the plan in principle.

Some soccer supporters in Northern Ireland oppose the proposal and argue that moving from Windsor Park to the Maze site would be a mistake.

The British government says that in order to make the €85 million stadium viable, it will have to be used for major football, rugby and Gaelic games.

The GAA has already given a commitment in principle to use the facility for a number of events. A response from rugby administrators is expected within days.