Champions League

UK Government in talks with UEFA over hosting Champions League final

Tom Gott
May 7, 2021, 5:35 PM GMT+1
The Champions League final could be moved
The Champions League final could be moved / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

The UK Government are negotiating with UEFA over playing the upcoming Champions League final in England after Turkey was added to the UK's 'red list' for COVID-19 travel restrictions.

Currently, the final is scheduled to be held in Istanbul, but UEFA have faced intense calls to move the event to England to reduce the need for travel for competitors Chelsea and Manchester City.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps confirmed on Friday that travel to Turkey should now only be made in extreme circumstances, and anyone who makes the trip, including players, would be required to isolate in a hotel upon their return at a cost of £1,750.

Any player involved in the game on May 29 would have to isolate until June 9, two days before the European Championships are set to kick off, so the practical implications are clear for everyone to see.

According to The Telegraph, the UK Government have again offered England's services when it comes to hosting the final, with the FA also urging UEFA to move the tournament and eradicate the need for any travel from either players or fans.

No formal request has been made and it is not yet clear which stadium the UK would offer up. Wembley would be the obvious choice but the stadium is set to host the Championship play-off final on the same day, and unless the EFL agree to move the fixture, it will be unavailable.

Aston Villa have thrown Villa Park into the mix, but there are concerns over their ability to raise the specifications of the ground ahead of the biggest match in club football. As such, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium may be a more-likely venue.

A major problem with the idea of moving the final to England is the fact that anybody coming from overseas, including UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, would be forced to quarantine before and after the match.

Aleksander Ceferin
Ceferin is considering his options / ANP Sport/Getty Images

To avoid that, the idea of moving the final to another neutral venue has been discussed. UEFA are looking at other countries which are not on England's red list, one of which is Poland, which will host the Europa League final three days earlier.

UEFA may also choose to stick to their guns and keep with Istanbul, where they hope to welcome around 25,000 fans to the event. Organisation rules state that the final must be moved if it is impacted by a travel ban, but it is unclear whether a ten-day isolation period would be counted as such.

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