Turkey placed on UK’s travel red list ahead of Champions League final

FA are in discussions with Uefa and they are ‘very open’ to hosting the final in the UK

Istanbul already forfeited hosting last year’s match between Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain when the final stages of the tournament were moved to Lisbon because of the pandemic. Photograph: Matt Childs/Getty Images

Istanbul already forfeited hosting last year’s match between Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain when the final stages of the tournament were moved to Lisbon because of the pandemic. Photograph: Matt Childs/Getty Images

 

The English Football Association is in talks with Uefa over relocating the Champions League final to England after Turkey was placed on the UK government’s travel red list.

Uefa had been expected to confirm details on Friday for the final on May 29th, with Manchester City and Chelsea fans expected to be allocated at least 4,000 tickets each for the match in Istanbul. That decision has been postponed pending negotiations, however, with English supporters told to stay at home by the UK government.

The chances of the game staying in Turkey are remote unless the players are granted an exemption from having to quarantine for 10 days in a government-approved hotel on their return to the UK.

The European Championship, in which most of both teams would be expecting to compete, begins on June 11th, with training camps and pre-tournament friendlies scheduled before that date.

“We are having to be cautious about this,” the UK’s transport secretary, Grant Schapps, said. “I’m afraid we’re having to put Turkey on the red list and it will have ramifications. Fans should not travel to Turkey. The FA are in discussions with Uefa already on this and we are very open to hosting the final.

“Ultimately it’s the decision of Uefa. We have a successful track record of matches with spectators. I’ve spoken to the sport’s minister, we’re very open to it and in the end it’s a decision for Uefa but given it’s two English clubs in final we’re waiting to hear what they have to say.”

It is unclear as to which venue the match could be played at in England, with Wembley hosting the EFL play-offs that weekend and many club grounds expected to rip up their pitches at the end of the domestic season. Hampden Park is a possibility, but the Scottish FA had not been approached on Friday evening.

It is understood that neither Chelsea nor Manchester City are lobbying Uefa for a change of venue, with both clubs having only on Friday signed a letter of reconciliation with the governing body over their brief involvement in the European Super League.

A Uefa spokesperson said: “Uefa has just learned that Turkey has been put on the red list and we need a bit of time to reflect on the topic.” The FA was approached for comment. - Guardian

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