Who will blink first when Boris Johnson tries to move the Champions League final to Wembley? Fans are demanding a move from Istanbul but UEFA is calling for concessions in talks with the UK government
- The Champions League final is currently taking place in Istanbul, Turkey
- However, the May 29 draw was cast into doubt when Turkey was placed on the UK Red List
- English teams Chelsea and Manchester City will play the European final
- UEFA remains tough on its stance on Turkey unless serious concessions are made
UEFA is under increasing pressure to move the Champions League final to Wembley. There are talks this week about the possible “catastrophic consequences” of holding the game in Istanbul.
Time is running out to switch locations for the flagship game between Chelsea and Manchester City on May 29, but UEFA’s plans for fans were thrown into turmoil when Turkey was put on the UK Red List for travel due to the wave of infections was recorded land.
UEFA would insist on Wembley as the venue if the game were to be postponed but odds are still against the decision unless there is a breakthrough in talks between the UK government and the European governing body on Monday.
UEFA is under pressure to host the Champions League final in England rather than Turkey
The game is scheduled for May 29th in Istanbul, but Turkey was put on the UK’s “Red List” this week
English fans and media would have to isolate themselves in a government-approved hotel for 10 days at a personal cost of £ 1,750 on their return to the UK.
“Having the Champions League final in Istanbul is ridiculous from a health perspective,” Chelsea Supporters’ Trust spokesman Dan Silver told The Mail on Sunday.
‘It is reckless to expect 10,000 backers to fly out, let alone those who would be traveling anyway. We’ve all fought hard for over a year to weather this pandemic, and if 10,000 or more come back with anything, the consequences could be disastrous. It’s crazy.
The English teams Chelsea and Manchester City will play the final in just under three weeks
‘A better venue has to be chosen. Authorities must press to bring it back to the UK, not just for the fans but for the country’s health as well. ‘
The players are expected to be exempted from the strict quarantine rules on their return – a relief for English coach Gareth Southgate, whose opening game of the European Championship takes place just 15 days after the Champions League final.
The EFL announced yesterday that they are open to the play-off finals, which will be relocated from Wembley that same weekend. It wouldn’t be the first time EFL playoffs give way to the Champions League final. When Wembley hosted the 2011 final, the first and second division play-off finals moved to Old Trafford.
London’s Wembley Stadium (above) was named as a possible venue for the final
However, there are still some hurdles to overcome when moving to Wembley. Although Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the country would be ready if UEFA asked, the government is concerned that it is a decision for the European governing body. UEFA had planned 24,000 spectators in Istanbul, with at least 4,000 tickets each going to City and Chelsea.
Under government rules, Wembley could only hold 10,000. If it were viewed as a testing event like the FA Cup final the week before, it could host 21,000 or more, which would be a requirement for UEFA to approve a change. Compensation would have to be agreed for Istanbul.
UEFA will be under pressure to switch venues as President Aleksander Ceferin praises English fans for helping stop the Super League outbreak.
Mr Johnson said: ‘The Champions League is the pinnacle of European club football – and with two English teams playing in the final, it would be a great shame if the fans couldn’t participate. It would be great to host the game here. ‘
THE RACE TO HOST THE GRAND SHOWPIECE
This week it will be decided whether the 2020-21 Champions League final will be postponed from Istanbul. These are the options that UEFA is considering:
Plan A: Hold the final in Istanbul as planned
With Turkey on the government’s “red list”, it means fans from the UK have been ordered not to travel to Istanbul. If so, they must be quarantined in an approved hotel for 10 days on their return. The price is £ 1,750.
And unless the Chelsea and Manchester City players are granted a special waiver, all of their stars will have to be quarantined and tested for 10 days in government approved hotels – just three days before the start of the European Championship final.
After UEFA pulled last year’s final from Istanbul – it was moved to Lisbon – it doesn’t want to take it from the Turks again.
Plan B – Have the match in England, probably at Wembley
The government is asking Uefa to move the final to England. Wembley would be the obvious choice, which would mean the FA would postpone the championship play-off final as it would take place on the same day.
Match officers, UEFA officials and foreign media arriving in England would, however, either have to take tests or quarantine and test in a hotel, depending on which country they are flying from. This will clearly not address the European umbrella organization.
Plan C – stage it elsewhere in Europe, for example in Lisbon
Lisbon successfully staged last year’s final – after it was relocated from Istanbul – and with Portugal on the UK’s “green list”, it means open travel between countries.