Boris Johnson calls for Champions League final to be moved to Britain after Turkey put on UK's red list
Match between Manchester City and Chelsea slated for May 29 in Istanbul
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called for the Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea slated for May 29 to be held in Britain after the UK government placed Turkey on the travel red list.
British transport minister Grant Shapps said that travel to red list countries was not allowed except for in "the most extreme circumstances" and anyone returning from a red list country has to enter and pay for compulsory hotel quarantine.
Turkey has in recent weeks ranked fourth globally in terms of daily Covid-19 cases, prompting a nationwide lockdown this month until May 17. The move has started to curb the outbreak, with daily cases falling to around 20,000 on Friday from a peak above 63,000 in mid-April.
"It does mean that fans should not travel to Turkey," said Shapps, who raised the possibility of the match being moved to England.
Schapps said any decision on moving the showpiece final ultimately laid with European governing body Uefa.
"The FA [Football Association] are in discussions with Uefa. We are open to hosting but it is ultimately a decision for Uefa," he added.
The Sun newspaper quoted Johnson as saying that it "would be a great shame" if fans were unable to attend the match.
"It would be brilliant to host the game here if we can," The Sun reported Johnson as saying. "I want to help supporters of both clubs see their team in action."
The issue of whether players would be granted an exemption from the quarantine was not clear but a 14-day quarantine would impact players involved in Uefa's Euro 2020 which starts on June 11.
Uefa said they would take time to reflect on the UK government's decision.
Turkey, meanwhile, said that it had received no inclination from Uefa to acquiesce to the UK's demands.
"UK officials seem to insist but we are moving ahead according to Uefa directions and statements. There were no updates on this from an official channel, we will be hosting the final in Istanbul," a Turkish Football Federation spokesman said.
Media reports have said that Turkish football authorities had been hoping to allow tickets for at least 4,000 fans of each team as part of a 25,000 capacity crowd at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium.
Manchester City reached the final for the first time thanks to a 4-1 aggregate win over Paris Saint-Germain while Chelsea will contest a third final having overcome Real Madrid over two legs.
Updated: May 8, 2021 09:59 AM