The all-English Champions League final might be played in England after Turkey was added to its “red list” of countries where all but essential travel is banned due to COVID-19 outbreaks.
Chelsea and Manchester City are due to meet on May 29 in Istanbul and UEFA was hoping to allow about 10,000 fans into the biggest club game of the European soccer season.
However, the British government on Friday warned supporters not to travel to Turkey after imposing the new travel restrictions and said that the English Football Association was in talks with Champions League organizer UEFA about staging the game in England, instead.
The most logical venue to move the game to is Wembley, with the London stadium staging eight games of the European Championship across next month and July, so it has UEFA’s required logistics and broadcasting infrastructure already in place.
Wembley was also already due to stage the 2024 Champions League final, so it could be moved up three years.
While Villa Park in the central England city of Birmingham has been floated as an option, it is an older stadium that would require significant infrastructure being installed to reach UEFA requirements.
“We are very open to hosting the final, but it is ultimately a decision for UEFA,” British Secretary of Transport Grant Shapps said.
“The UK has already got a successful track record of football matches with spectators, so we are well placed to do it. Given there are two English clubs in that final, we look forward to what they have to say,” Shapps added.
If the game is moved to Wembley, the English Football League would have to accept moving the date of the Championship playoff to determine the final promotion place to the Premier League, which is scheduled to be played at the stadium on May 29.
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