Champions League: Celtic won't take tickets for potential Linfield trip

Celtic supporters
Celtic say their supporters won't be given tickets for the potential tie in Belfast

Celtic have confirmed they will not take supporters to Belfast - should they face Linfield in a Champions League qualifier.

Linfield face SP La Fiorita of San Marino in the second qualifying round, with the winners facing Celtic.

However, the first leg was due to be played on 12 July at the height of the marching season in Northern Ireland.

Citing safety concerns, Celtic said: "No tickets will be available for Celtic supporters for the match."

Uefa has confirmed that a potential Linfield v Celtic match would be on Friday, 14 July. The dates for the second qualifying round ties are 11/12 July and 18/19 July.

With Celtic away from home for the first leg, the potential Linfield clash sparked security concerns.

'Safety of Celtic supporters paramount'

In a statement on Friday, Celtic said: "Following security concerns raised by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Celtic has taken part in discussions with Linfield and the PSNI over recent days.

"While there can be an option to reverse the fixtures if both clubs agree, during discussions, Linfield made it clear that they did not wish to reverse the tie and they wanted play their home leg first.

"In addition, as is often the case in football, Celtic's football management team wished to play our away leg first so that we could benefit from the advantage of playing the second leg at home in front of our supporters at Celtic Park for this crucial European tie.

"Following the discussions, it was agreed among the clubs and PSNI and has now been confirmed with Uefa that, should Linfield progress to the second qualifying round, Celtic's Uefa Champions League match against Linfield will take place at Windsor Park on Friday, 14 July, with a 5pm kick-off.

"No tickets will be available for Celtic supporters for the match. The safety and security of all Celtic supporters travelling and attending matches is of paramount importance to the club." '

'Difficult situation'

Earlier, Linfield Chairman Roy McGivern said he was pleased that agreement had been reached to stage the match - should Linfield qualify - on 14 July.

"I would like to thank all of those involved for their efforts in resolving what was a difficult situation and we can now concentrate fully on our forthcoming games against FC Fiorita from San Marino," he said

PSNI Supt Norman Haslett said: "Police have been in close contact with representatives from both Linfield and Celtic football clubs due to the possibility of a Belfast fixture between the two clubs in July.

"Public safety concerns surrounding the fixture and the impact on the greater Belfast area over the Twelfth period have featured strongly in our considerations and discussions. I can confirm that all parties have now reached agreement on the arrangements for the match, should it proceed."

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