The UEFA Champions League final could be moved to Wembley, or Portugal, as talks are continuing between the Turkish FA, UEFA and the relevant governments.
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Just a few days after Chelsea and Manchester City reached the showpiece final, which is scheduled for Istanbul on May 29, the UK government placed Turkey on its ‘red list’ of countries to travel to.
That means that no fans can travel to Istanbul for the game and UEFA is now locked in talks about what to do next.
Turkey is currently in a lockdown after a surge of COVID-19 cases and the UK government are in talks with UEFA over moving the final to Wembley, as over 20,000 fans would be able to attend and the testing, broadcast and other systems are all in place to host the game between the Premier League giants.
What is the current situation?
There is a lot to unpack here.
As of right now, reports out of Turkey say that UEFA are still thinking about how they can host the final in Istanbul.
Remember: the Ataturk Stadium was due to host the final last season but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, UEFA hosted single-leg quarterfinal and semifinal games, plus the final itself, in two stadiums in Lisbon and moved the final in Istanbul back a year.
Speaking of Lisbon, it has emerged that UEFA may try and use a stadium Portugal (Porto or Lisbon) once again, according to our partners in the UK at Sky Sports. That is because Portugal is on the ‘green list’ of countries for travel from the UK, as fans could attend the final and UEFA could still host the showpiece event in a neutral country.
If the host venue is moved, it is believed that Istanbul could instead host the Champions League final for 2023, which is the 100th anniversary of the new Republic of Turkey and would slot in line with huge celebrations across the country.
So, as of right now there are three options for the Champions League final: 1) keep it in Istanbul. 2) move it to Wembley. 3) move it to Portugal.
With just 19 days to go until the final takes place, it is expected that UEFA will make an announcement as soon as tomorrow so they can plan ahead.