Michael Gove admits that ‘there are delicate negotiations underway’ about moving the Champions League final
Michael Gove offers hope to Wembley as host of the Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea, as the UK government secretary admits that “ delicate negotiations are currently underway ”.
- The Champions League final is scheduled for May 29 in Istanbul
- It is likely that the game will now move with Turkey on the government’s red list
- There is hope that Wembley will be able to host instead, although obstacles remain
- Cabinet Secretary Michael Gove has said there are “delicate talks” going on today
Cabinet minister Michael Gove has revealed that “delicate negotiations” are currently underway about moving the Champions League final after Turkey, the host of the match, has been placed on the government’s “red list”.
Manchester City and Chelsea will face each other in the all-English showpiece on May 29, but the clash in Istanbul is currently in uncertainty and the supporters of the two clubs are now unable to attend.
The situation may cause the game to be held elsewhere with the hope that Wembley can step in – and credentials for the national stadium appear to have been boosted with ongoing talks.
“There are delicate negotiations going on right now,” said Gove Sky News when asked where the final should take place.
Minister Michael Gove admits talks are underway about moving the Champions League final
Manchester City and Chelsea will face each other in the match, which was to take place in Istanbul
‘My friend, my colleague, the culture secretary Oliver Dowden, is talking to people about this right now, so I don’t want to get over that.
‘But I’m sure fans in the UK would love to see the final play here in the UK.’
It was revealed by Sportsmail Last night, the pressure on UEFA increased to move the final to Wembley and discussions were expected to take place this week.
Time is running out for the change, however, after British citizens were told not to travel to Turkey ‘for leisure purposes’ due to the wave of coronavirus infections in the country.
UEFA is under pressure to switch locations for the final, with Turkey on the UK’s ‘red list’
Anyone with the ambition to fly to Istanbul should be quarantined at a hotel upon arrival in the UK and undergo two separate Covid-19 tests.
The isolation period, which should be followed by both fans and members of the press in an accredited hotel, lasts 10 days.
A personal cost of £ 1,750 must also be paid.
UEFA and FA officials are said to be stunned by the decision to put Turkey on the ‘red list’.
There is hope that Wembley will be able to intervene, although there are several hurdles to overcome
Clearly, UEFA is open to establishing itself in Wembley as the new venue for the showdown – but a breakthrough will be needed between the British government and the governing bodies on Monday.
The EFL said yesterday that it was willing to move the three play-off finals, which will be played at Wembley on the same weekend as the Champions League final, to help.
This could allow the biggest match in European knockout football to take place in London, although several hurdles remain.
The government is believed to be wary that the decision to change hosts is solely up to UEFA, but the interest in taking it over has been made abundantly clear by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has emphasized the UK’s desire to host the final later this month
Ticket sales issues should also be resolved. 24,000 spectators would be allowed in Istanbul, with at least 4,000 tickets each being handed out to City and Chelsea.
However, Wembley can only take 10,000 people. This number could go up to 21,000 or more, but the match should be classified as another test event.
This was described by Sportsmail as a ‘requirement’ for UEFA to agree to the change of venue.
UEFA’s current position appears to have changed in recent days after the organization initially insisted mid-week that the final would still take place in Istanbul as planned.
The Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul was initially mentioned as the location for the crunch clash
A statement said: ‘The UEFA Champions League Final will take place in Istanbul on May 29 with a limited number of spectators and we are assured that the temporary lockdown in effect until May 17 will not have any impact on the match.
“UEFA will continue to work closely with the Turkish Football Association and the local and national authorities to organize the match safely.”
Their position came despite the fact that Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, imposed a ‘full lockdown’ that lasted nearly three weeks in an effort to bring daily coronavirus cases below 5,000.
THE RACE TO GUEST THE FINAL
It will be decided this week whether the 2020-21 Champions League final will be moved from Istanbul. These are the options that UEFA is considering:
Plan A: Hold the final in Istanbul as planned
With Turkey on the government’s ‘red list’, it means fans from the UK have been told not to travel to Istanbul. If they do, they will be quarantined in an approved hotel for 10 days at a cost of £ 1,750 when they return.
And unless Chelsea and Manchester City players are given a special exemption, it also means that all their stars will have to be quarantined for 10 days in government-approved hotels and pass numerous tests – which will reappear just three days before the start of the European championships .
After pulling last year’s final from Istanbul – which was moved to Lisbon – UEFA no longer wants to beat the Turks.
Plan B – Hold the match in England, probably at Wembley
The government is urging Uefa to move the final to England. Wembley would be the obvious choice, which would mean that the FA is moving the Championship play-off final, which will take place on the same day.
However, match officials, UEFA officials and foreign media arriving in England will either have to pass tests or quarantine and take tests at a hotel depending on the country they are flying from, and that will clearly not appeal to the European governing body.
Plan C – Organize it elsewhere in Europe, for example Lisbon
Lisbon successfully hosted last year’s final – after moving from Istanbul – and as Portugal is on the UK’s ‘green list’, this means open travel between the countries.