Champions League final: Wembley complications mean Porto emerges as frontrunner

Uefa has decided that the May 29 final will be moved from Istanbul after Turkey was last week put on the UK's 'red list'

Portugal has emerged as an alternative to host this month's Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea after the UK government failed to provide Uefa with certain guarantees to move the game to Wembley.

Uefa has decided that the May 29 final will be moved from Istanbul after Turkey was last week put on the UK's 'red list' ruling out any English fans attending the game. As of May 17, Portugal will be put on the 'green list', meaning a limited amount of City and Chelsea fans would be allowed to attend. Uefa had hoped to allow around 4,000 fans each to attend the match at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul.

European football's governing body held talks with the UK government and English Football Association on Monday with a view to moving the game to Wembley but failed to get the assurances on exemptions for sponsors and international broadcasters, who would need to be compensated if they were unable to attend the game.

Given many of those individuals, from various countries, would currently need to quarantine on arrival in the UK, it would require a wide range of exemptions that has made a swift agreement difficult to find.

Neither Uefa or the FA has responded to requests for comment and talks are set to continue with the UK government on Tuesday to see if a resolution can be found.

Wembley is already scheduled to host the Championship play-off final on May 29, though it is understood the English Football League by amenable to moving the match if asked.

Portugal is currently on the last phase of easing the lockdown and it expects to lift travel restrictions from May 17.

Last year's final was moved from Istanbul to Lisbon due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but sources indicated that Portuguese authorities would prefer for Porto to host the game, should the country be given the option.

Travellers from England to green-list countries must follows rules before departure but do not have to quarantine on their return.

UK citizens returning from red-list countries are required to quarantine at a government-approved hotel for 10 days.

That ruling would have an impact on players involved in Euro 2020, which starts on 11 June.

Published: May 11, 2021 10:00 AM


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