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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 24 October, 2019

Pro14 working with police to ensure Glasgow final 'goes off without a hitch'

The 2019 final is scheduled to take place on the same day as the Scottish Cup final.

Pro14 CEO Martin Anayi speaking in Glasgow yesterday.
Pro14 CEO Martin Anayi speaking in Glasgow yesterday.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE of the Pro14, Martin Anayi, has moved to play down security concerns over the staging of the competition’s grand final at Celtic Park, despite a scheduled fixture clash with the Scottish Cup final in the same city.

The 2019 Pro14 final is set to be played at the home of Celtic Football Club on Saturday 25 May, the same day nearby Hampden Park will host the showpiece event of the Scottish football season.

Just five kilometres separate the two venues but Anayi, speaking in Glasgow for the launch of the 2018/19 season, insisted that the authorities have given permission for both matches to go ahead as planned, even in the event of an Old Firm derby at Hampden.

“We’ve worked with the city and the police and they are pretty happy with the two events being in two separate parts of the city,” he said.

“I believe the kick-off for the cup final will be earlier in the day, it’s to be confirmed when that will be, but our kick-off will be around 5.30, 6pm and there will be time in between.

“We’re working closely with the police and the organising committee to make sure it goes off without a hitch.”

It is the first time the Pro14 decider will be played in a non-rugby ground and organisers are already reporting strong early interest, with 3,000 tickets sold in Monday morning’s pre-sale.

Anayi joked a Glasgow Warriors-Leinster final ‘wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world’ as they look to sell out the 60,000 capacity, but one of the most iconic sporting venues will pull fans in regardless of which two teams reach the final.

A view of Celtic Park ahead of today's game Celtic Park will host the 2019 Pro14 final. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“The most important thing is to create an event that, regardless of the teams involved, people will buy tickets to see,” he added. “If you make it about an event, people will buy regardless of the city and who is in the final.”

Dominic McKay, the Scottish Rugby Union’s chief operating officer, played a big role in bringing the Pro14 final to the Scottish city: “Glasgow is a growing rugby city. Glasgow Warriors sell out every single game, they won the Pro12 as it was a couple of years ago and were given the freedom of the city, so there’s a little bit of pressure to do something for the city of Glasgow.

“We won’t commit to selling out, but we will commit to working with Pro14, the committee and the city to ensure there is an outstanding crowd. It is a special venue, that will create a real interest.”

Meanwhile, McKay was asked if the SRU’s relationship with the IRFU had been further fractured following the departure of Scottish assistant coach Dan McFarland for Ulster.

“We’ve got a brilliant relationship with the IRFU, I speak with Philip Browne and his team regularly,” he insisted.

“Rugby is a competitive environment, players and coaches move and that is part of it. We have respect for the IRFU, we wish Dan every success. He was great for Scotland.”

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Ryan Bailey

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