The United Kingdom has put Turkey on its ‘red list’ for travel, blindsiding UEFA ahead of the Champions League Final at the end of this month in Istanbul. As for the latest development on the situation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has advocated for the event to be held in the UK.
The Secretary of State for Transport, Grant Shapps announced at a press conference on Friday evening that the government's decision to put 12 countries on its ‘red list’ for travel would include Turkey - where the Champions League Final was scheduled to take place on 29th May in the presence of around 6,000 fans from each club and 25,000 spectators in total.
This puts Manchester City and Chelsea fans’ hopes of attending the showpiece event in serious jeopardy.
Although the UK government are expected to make exemptions for the players and the club staff, all fans willing to attend the game in Turkey would have to undergo a 10-day quarantine stay at an allocated quarantine hotel, costing around £2,000 per person.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, while exclusively to the Sun said, “The Champions League is the pinnacle of European club football, and with two English teams in the final, it would be a great shame if fans were unable to attend.”
Talks about shifting Europe’s biggest footballing event to the UK are already underway between the English FA and UEFA, and Johnson’s remarks will further strengthen the Football Association’s push to conduct the game on home soil.
“It would be brilliant to host it here if we can. I want to help supporters of both clubs see their team in action,” the Prime Minister said.
If the game is played in England, up to 15,000 fans could attend after the country’s trial runs allowing a limited capacity of spectators in events like the Carabao Cup Final were deemed successful.
Fans of both the clubs would cherish a Champions League Final venue change to the UK, as they would benefit immensely from the cutback of huge costs of a four-hour flight each way, hotels and now of a 10-day hotel quarantine.
Wembley is being used for the Play-Off Finals on the weekend of the Champions League showpiece, but talks are ongoing to change the venue of the English Football League's showdown event. Aston Villa have already offered Villa Park to the FA and UEFA, should they wish to move the European spectacle.
In any case, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s comments on this matter will provide a strong push as UEFA decide on the venue of Europe’s most awaited game.
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