Madrid ready to host Champions League final if moved from Istanbul, says city major

European football's biggest game was scheduled to be played at Istanbul's Ataturk Stadium on May 30 until the competition was postponed

MADRID, SPAIN - JUNE 01: Jordan Henderson of Liverpool lifts the trophy as his side celebrates victory after the UEFA Champions League Final between Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at Estadio Wanda Metropolitano on June 1, 2019 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images)

Madrid is ready to step in and host the Uefa Champions League final if the match cannot safely go ahead in Istanbul, the city's major has said.

European football's biggest game was scheduled to be played at Istanbul's Ataturk Stadium on May 30 until the competition was postponed at the last-16 stage in March due to the pandemic.

Madrid has twice hosted the Champions League final in the past 10 years, most recently last season's showpiece at Atletico Madrid's Wanda Metropolitano Stadium where Liverpool defeated fellow Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur. The Spanish capital also staged the 2010 final at the Santiago Bernabeu, home to Real Madrid.

"I know arrangements are being made, and I want to declare the city hall's absolute support for this Champions League final being held in Madrid," Madrid mayor Jose Luis Martinez said on television network 13tv.

No official announcement has been made about whether the re-arranged final will take place in Istanbul. A New York Times report last month said the showpiece event will not be held in the Turkish city and alternative venues were being considered.

Uefa, which declined to comment on Martinez's remarks, said that a working group had been set up and "a variety of options" were being looked at. An executive committee meeting on June 17 will provide more clarity, it said.

The final is likely to be held without spectators, as has been the case in the major European leagues such as the Bundesliga, which returned last month, and Spain's La Liga.

Spain has been among the worst affected countries by the coronavirus pandemic, recording more than 288,000 total cases and 27,000 deaths. Madrid had the country's highest number of deaths and infections.

But with the infection rate falling significantly, normal life is slowly resuming in Spain.

"We have the adequate safety conditions, we have the infrastructure and public services to hold it and it would send a message to the world that despite all the drama we have lived, Madrid isn't giving up and is on the rise again," Martinez said.

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