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Dublin: 12 °C Sunday 15 September, 2019

Celtic Park being considered as the venue for next season's Pro14 final

The home of Celtic Football Club, the current Scottish champions, can accommodate 60,000 supporters.

Image: PA Wire/PA Images

CELTIC FOOTBALL CLUB’S home ground at Parkhead could be set to stage next season’s Guinness Pro14 final as organisers seek to spread the appeal of the competition.

It’s expected that Celtic Park might be confirmed as the venue for next year’s decider in the coming weeks, amid reports that the Pro14 final could also be staged in South Africa in the next few seasons.

Sources in South Africa say that Pro14 organisers have suggested to SARU officials — whose permission would be required to stage the match there — that they are keen to look at bringing their showpiece there, with Cape Town the likely venue if that happens.

But with the final having not yet taken place in either Wales or Italy, bringing it to South Africa might still be some way off.

Eight finals have taken place since the play-off system was introduced in 2009-10 and seven of them have taken place in Ireland, with another one due later this month when the Aviva Stadium stages it for the second year in a row.

The venue was selected for the opening five seasons of the play-off system based on the highest seeded team, with the RDS hosting it four times and Thomond Park staging it once.

In 2014-15, a venue was selected in advance for the first time, with Kingspan Stadium in Belfast being awarded the final, while a year later Connacht and Leinster headed to Murrayfield in Edinburgh for the only final to take place outside Ireland since the introduction of the current system.

But that looks set to change next year with the 60,000-capacity Celtic Park poised to host the event in a season where both the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals will also be staged at a football stadium, when St James’ Park, home of Newcastle United FC, will be the venue this time next year.

By then, Celtic will be hoping to celebrate an eighth Scottish Premier League title in a row before their stadium hosts the Pro14 showdown.

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John Fallon

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