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Celtic's hopes of playing Champions League game in Dublin dashed

By Daniel McDonnell

UEFA have poured cold water on Celtic's suggestion that they could play a Champions League qualifier in Dublin next summer.

Hoops chief executive Peter Lawwell had floated the Aviva Stadium or Croke Park as a possible temporary home for the Glasgow club next summer when Parkhead is being used for the city's hosting of the Commonwealth Games.

If Celtic, as expected, retain the SPL this year then they are likely to play a home Champions League qualifier between July 23 and August 3, 2014. But UEFA have confirmed that a request to move the game outside Scotland would be denied under their current rules.

Rule 12.7 of the Champions League regulations states that fixtures in the competition must be played 'either at the ground of the home club or at another ground in the same or another city within the territory of the its association'.

Therefore, Edinburgh's Murrayfield, the home of Scottish rugby, is poised to benefit from Celtic's short-term homelessness.

The only avenue for switching a game to another jurisdiction is 'for reasons of safety or as a result of a disciplinary measure'.

Celtic had cited the relocation of a 1984 European Cup Winners tie with Rapid Vienna to Manchester as a precedent, but that was a punishment for crowd disturbances at Parkhead in the second leg of their tie. After winning on aggregate, the Hoops were forced into a replay by UEFA and the Austrians progressed.

A Celtic request to stage a match in Dublin would have presented the FAI with a headache. Abbotstown HQ have to sanction all football games played in the Republic and it would have opened up the possibility of an embarrassing clash with St Patrick's Athletic's adventures.

The prospect of the Scottish champions taking over the national stadium in the week that the domestic champions played in the same competition – but with less fanfare – would have opened the authorities up to criticism.

Belfast Telegraph


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