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Celtic told Champions League venue will not be changed

03 August 2015, 21:32

London - Officials of former European champions Celtic expressed concerns about the state of the pitch for their Champions League qualifying match against Qarabag in Azerbaijan on Wednesday after UEFA announced that the venue would not be changed.

Earlier reports suggested the surface of the Tofiq Bahramov Stadium in Baku was "unplayable" after damage caused by the intense heat in the capital.

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A spokesman for Qarabag, who lost the first leg 1-0 in Glasgow, told BBC Scotland the pitch was "not ideal".

But in a statement, UEFA said: "There are no plans to change the venue and the match is scheduled to go ahead as planned."

Speaking before flying from Glasgow on Monday, Celtic's assistant manager John Collins told reporters that any problems with the pitch would be the same for both teams.

"At this level you expect the pitch to be of a good standard but if it isn't we'll just have to adapt our play," he said.

"We got a phone call from (club) security. They're over there and they say it's not looking good."

A spokesman for Football and Sports Management, who are responsible for the maintenance of the pitch, told BBC Scotland: "The pitch is playable. Some areas have been damaged by the heat. At the moment in Baku, it is about 38 or 39 degrees but at pitch level at midday it is about 51 or 52 degrees."

Whichever team goes through will enter the final play-off round for the lucrative Champions League group stage.

- Reuters


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