The Pro14 rugby union competition has opted for a change in strategy after awarding hosting rights for its 2019 Final match to Glasgow’s Celtic Park.
It will mark the first time that a non-traditional rugby union venue has hosted the match. Celtic Park is the home of Scottish Premiership football club Celtic and has a capacity of 60,000. It will host next year’s final on May 25.
The match has been played at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium for the past two editions, with the 2018 game having been watched by a record crowd of 46,092.
Next year will mark the first time that Scotland has staged the Pro14 final since 2016, when Edinburgh’s Murrayfield stadium was the host venue. The Pro14 opted to start staging the match at ‘destination venues’ in 2015. Before then, hosting rights were assigned on merit based on that season’s standings.
Pro14 Rugby chief executive Martin Anayi said: “Bringing our final to a world-famous stadium like Celtic Park is a truly historic step in the evolution of the Guinness Pro14. Since introducing destination final venues in 2015 we have seen the event thrive by making it about fans of rugby and not just the supporters of the two teams competing for the trophy.
“The bid put forward by Scottish Rugby, Celtic FC and the City of Glasgow was compelling from the very beginning and we’re certain that fans across the Guinness Pro14 will share in our excitement. Glasgow has so much to offer in terms of hospitality, culture and heritage and like our previous finals in Dublin, Edinburgh and Belfast we can offer fans so much more than just a rugby experience.
“In the past number of seasons we have made many bold decisions which have transformed the Guinness Pro14 for the better and the choice of Celtic Park as the venue for the 2019 final is yet another signal of our ambition to provide the best club rugby tournament possible for our clubs and our fans.”
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawlell added: “Celtic Park is a world-class venue and our success of hosting events in the 2014 Commonwealth Games and on Champions League nights where we have welcomed some of the biggest names in world football, proves that the stadium can produce unforgettable experiences time after time.
“We look forward to welcoming rugby fans from far and wide to Paradise on May 25 to share in the atmosphere of Celtic Park, we are sure it is an experience they will enjoy immensely.”
The Pro14 comprises teams from Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Italy and South Africa.