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Celtic need re think on Champions League dilemma

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The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth games may be good for the country but Scottish Champions Celtic have their own dilemma. Assuming, as seems likely they win this season title as well, they will be required to play a two-legged Champions League qualifying match next summer.

But Uefa have already indicated that a request to play the home leg in one of the larger stadiums south of the border or in Ireland is a non starter

 Celtic Park, along with Ibrox and Hampden, all in use as Commonwealth Games venues, a new location for the game would need to be found.

Celtic's chief executive Peter Lawwell had asked Uefa to look at options for the tie, including stadiums outside Scotland.

In principle, a club must play all its matches in the competition at one and the same ground.

Matches may be played either at the ground of the home club or at another ground in the same or another city within the territory of its association, or, if so decided by the Uefa administration and/or the Uefa disciplinary bodies, in the territory of another Uefa member association for reasons of safety or as a result of a disciplinary measure.

Speaking earlier this week Lawwell said: "We are currently in discussion with Uefa in terms of what options we have.

"Once they are happy with those options then we will go and speak to the relevant owners of the stadia, possibly outside Scotland.

"It could be England or Ireland, the Aviva in Dublin or Croke Park or maybe even down south at a northern Premier League club. We have a big support in Dublin and the stadium was full when we played Liverpool in the summer there, so that would be great."

Butaccording to BBC Sport Uefa, under its current rules, would deny any request to play the game outside Scotland, citing rule 12.7 of Champions League regulations.

It states Champions League matches 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 its association".

The only exemptions under the rule are for safety issues or as the result of a disciplinary measure.

Celtic are citing their European Cup Winners Cup game at Old Trafford in 1984 against Rapid Vienna  as a potential precedent for moving the game.

But that match was only played at Manchester United's stadium after Uefa ordered a replay at a neutral ground at least 100 miles away from Glasgow following a controversial end to the second-leg at Celtic Park.

The club are also thought to be considering the 67,800 capacity Murrayfield stadium in Edinburgh, the home of Scottish rugby, with Uefa's regulations now making it the leading contender to host the potential game.

KN

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