UEFA to make Champions League final decision over Wembley switch

The UK government will hold talks with UEFA and The Football Association on Monday over moving this month’s all-English Champions League final from Istanbul to Wembley.

Manchester City had been due to play Chelsea in Istanbul on May 29, but the government’s decision to place Turkey on its COVID-19 ‘red list’ — which prevents English fans from travelling to the match — threw those plans into disarray.

On Sunday, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove confirmed that “delicate negotiations” were taking place, with the transport secretary Grant Shapps earlier commenting that the government were “very open” to staging it on home soil.

What happens today?

“Delicate negotiations” are set to take place between the UK government, English football authorities and UEFA.

UEFA will expect a number of concessions from the government for the final to be moved to London.

UEFA is understood to want the capacity at Wembley to be raised from 10,000 to 22,500, while UEFA staff and international broadcasters will need to be allowed to enter the UK without first needing to quarantine.

A decision is expected by Wednesday.

What has been said?

“There are delicate negotiations that are going on at the moment,” Gove said on Sky News when asked about where the final should take place.

“My friend, my colleague the culture secretary Oliver Dowden (the minister for sport) is talking to people about this at the moment, and so I don’t want to cut across that.

“But I’m sure that fans in the UK would dearly love to see the final played here in the UK.”

Shapps had earlier said: “The FA are in discussions with UEFA on this. We are very open to hosting the final but it is ultimately a decision for UEFA.

“Of course the UK has already got a successful track record of football matches with spectators, so we are well placed to do it.”

When did the rules change?

On Friday, it was announced that Turkey had been put under the most restrictive guidelines when it comes to travel from the United Kingdom. These restrictions will apply from May 12.

This means those returning from the country have to quarantine in government-selected hotels for 10 days upon return due to the COVID-19 situation in the country.

That is a huge issue for both clubs and players, as the European Championship kicks off on June 11, just 13 days after the final.

What does this mean for fans?

Fans have essentially been told not to travel to the final at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul. UEFA had hoped to welcome around 25,000 supporters into the ground.

If they did decide to travel, they would be forced to quarantine in a government-approved hotel afterwards.

That would cost around £1,750 for the 10-day spell.


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Oluwatobi-Michael Omojulowo

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