The hopes of Chelsea and Manchester City supporters to attend the Champions League final this month were boosted on Monday when UEFA decided to hold the game in Istanbul.
While further talks are scheduled for Tuesday, sources involved in the talks on Monday night said UEFA is considering a direct choice between Wembley and either Porto or Lisbon in Portugal for the new venue, with the decision reportedly at stake.
UEFA prefers the final to take place in England on May 29, but they have not yet received any guarantees from the government that up to 1,000 staff needed to run the event would be exempted from the 10-day isolation period that required to UK from most countries.
A total of 25,000 would come to the Champions League final in the Ataturk stadium
UEFA meeting with UK government to discuss Champions League final reportedly failed due to quarantine regulations on arrival in UK for 2,000 UEFA staff
UEFA is under pressure to switch venues for the final, with Turkey on the UK’s ‘red list’
The Estadio da Luz in Lisbon, which hosted the 2020 final, is once again seen as a contender
Fans of both clubs should be able to attend the match either way, as Portugal was one of the few countries on the government’s green list that allows quarantine-free travel.
Last season’s Champions League semi-finals and final were held behind closed doors in Lisbon in a safe environment of Covid, but Porto has emerged as UEFA’s favorite backup plan this year.
While both clubs and the FA prefer the final to be held in Wembley, the decision rests with the government, which must agree to UEFA’s demands or ensure that the final is moved to Portugal.
The government is expected to be wary of granting travel exemptions for fear of the mixed message it would send to the public, who have been told for so long that they cannot go on vacation or visit relatives abroad .
Manchester City and Chelsea will face each other in the match, which was to take place in Istanbul
Manchester City and Chelsea have booked their place in the Champions League final
“If the game doesn’t come to England now, it’s because the British government couldn’t do what it was supposed to do,” said a source with knowledge of the negotiations.
“UEFA wants to move the game, but it is up to the British government to make that effort.”
A UK source involved in the talks said the government “understands UEFA’s position and respects our need to enforce border restrictions.”
With extreme reluctance, UEFA made the decision to move the final from Istanbul, as they wanted fans of both clubs.
That became impossible when Turkey was placed on the government’s red list last week.
Discussions were held about Wembley Stadium hosting the all English European final
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a new step on his way out of lockdown
With more than £ 20 million spent on the Ataturk Stadium refurbishment, compensation will have to be paid, while the city is also promised the 2023 Champions League final in a revised schedule in which Saint Petersburg retains the 2022 showpiece , with 2024 at Wembley and 2025 in Munich.
UEFA, like all sports organizations, has suffered financially from the coronavirus pandemic, which has gripped Europe for 14 months and prevents supporters from attending most matches.
The governing body benefits from ticket sales, but VIPs, often linked to lucrative sponsorship packages, are particularly important.
The total number of VIPs and agency personnel is believed to be approximately 2,000.
Chelsea fans are celebrating off the ground after beating Real Madrid 2-0 in their semi-final
Fans of Man City celebrate their team’s victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League
Daily covid business falls in Turkey, but remains higher than the UK and Poland, where the Europa League final will be played. Source: Our World in Date / John Hopkins University
TRAVEL TRAFFIC LIGHTS
It is currently still illegal for Britons to travel abroad for non-essential reasons, but this is expected to change on May 17, when the State Department is likely to allow people to travel to countries with a low Covid infection rate to fly.
Travelers to ‘red list’ countries must be quarantined for 10 days at a government-approved hotel upon arrival in the UK.
Those from ‘amber list’ countries, including Switzerland, where UEFA is based, will have to isolate at home for 10 days and take a covid test on days two and eight.
While those returning from countries on the ‘green list’, which includes Portugal, will not have to isolate, but will have to pass a test.
One solution would be to create bubbles for visiting dignitaries and staff, but while it would be possible to reduce the risk of infection, there is concern about the fairness of allowing VIPs to escape rules that the rest of the population must abide by .
With the UK government and UEFA struggling to agree on waivers for VIP guests, Portugal has become an increasingly attractive option.
If the game were to be played in Portugal, fans of Chelsea and City would be able to travel to and from the game without significant restrictions.
There would be no need to isolate themselves on their return, although they would have to take a coronavirus test.
Clive Efford, Member of Parliament for Eltham, who last week was one of the first to highlight the dangers of thousands of English football fans traveling to Turkey for the showpiece final, believes the UK can safely house visitors to get the game going. .
Initial planning was made to create ‘bubbles’ for visiting fans and dignitaries in preparation for the Euro 2020 final in London. So sources say there is an understanding of how this can be achieved.
“It’s doable,” said the lifelong Millwall fan and member of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.
They should stay in their own group and how they move around the UK should be limited.
‘You can keep them in their bubbles and I’m sure they would be in comfortable hotels. They can go to the game and go home. It is not beyond our ability to create that environment. ‘
The EFL will follow Tuesday’s talks with interest as there are implications for their play-off games, which will be held at Wembley between 29 and 31 May.
Meanwhile, the Premier League has confirmed that they are in talks with the government about playing in packed stadiums from the start of next season.
Ahead of the return of 10,000 fans for every Premier League game next week, CEO Richard Masters said: “It will be great to see fans again. They have been sorely missed and the Premier League has not been the same without them. Their presence ensures a fantastic finale.
While there will only be a small number of home fans at our games next week, this is an important step in our return to normalcy.
‘We will continue to work with the government as our priority is to have full, vibrant stadiums – including away supporters – from the start of next season.
“Only then will we get back to the real Premier League.”