Europe’s governing body, UEFA, are reported to be ‘seriously considering’ switching the upcoming Champions League final to Wembley, the clash set to be an all-English affair.
At present, the final is set to be played in Turkey’s capital Istanbul, at Ataturk Olympic Stadium, the arena having already missed out on hosting the showpiece last season due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the last phase of the knockout stage having been moved to Portugal.
However, despite missing out on hosting last year’s final, they could well be set to suffer the same fate this term, amid calls to move the final to England, after both Manchester City and Chelsea progressed from their semi-final encounters with Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, respectively.
With an all-English final on the way, it seemingly makes little sense to host the final abroad, particularly with it now appearing unlikely that fans will be able to make the trip to Turkey, after the current host nation was placed on the UK’s travel ‘red-list’ – meaning they would have to undertake 10 days of hotel quarantine at their own expense upon their return.
With the allocated 12,000 Man City and Blues supporters effectively now unable to attend the match should it remain where it is, Uefa is now said to be ‘seriously considering’ moving the game to Wembley, according to the Telegraph.
The report suggests that the European governing body have been left ‘between a rock and a hard place’ following the UK government’s recent travel announcement, as hosting at the newly refurbished Turkish stadium – the site of Liverpool’s famous comeback back in 2005 – is essentially futile if supporters cannot attend.
While Uefa are seemingly fearful of risking the wrath of ‘newly-empowered fans’ following the European Super League debacle, by keeping the game where it is, they will also have to contend with a frustrated Turkish Football Federation, particularly if the switch happens with the match just weeks away.
It would also be a logistical headache for Gareth Southgate’s European Championships preparations should the final remain in Istanbul, with a large chunk of his squad set to be involved.
With Turkey currently in lockdown and facing a surge in cases, those players who do feature could potentially be forced to quarantine on their return, putting their involvement in England’s warm-up games in doubt.
That being said, there have been reports that the UK government could offer an exemption to quarantine rules to the players involved, although the ideal scenario would be to host the game in England.