Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 1 December 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Turkish FA confident Champions League final in Istanbul will be held in August

TFF chairman Ozdemir also announces that domestic league will resume without fans on June 12

The Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul is set to host this season's Champions League final. AFP
The Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul is set to host this season's Champions League final. AFP

The head of the Turkish FA is confident the country will be able to host the Champions League final, postponed due to the coronavirus, in August.

The Turkish Football Federation (TFF) also plans to resume its domestic leagues without fans on June 12 after a three-month suspension caused by the pandemic.

Two months ago, European football's governing body Uefa indefinitely postponed the Champions League showpiece, which had been scheduled for the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul on May 30.

TFF chairman Nihat Ozdemir said Europe's elite club final was being planned for the end of August, but that details on the format and timing would be finalised after talks with health officials and Uefa.

"God willing, we will complete our own leagues at the end of July. We will hand over our cups on the pitch and then we will cap the season off by hosting the Uefa Champions League final in August," Ozdemir told a televised news conference.

He said Turkish football leagues, including the top tier Super Lig, would resume from June 12 without spectators and finish on July 26. The Super Lig schedule will involve seven weekend games and one weekday match, he said.

Ozdemir added that teams will play matches in their own cities and stadiums, despite concerns this may risk a renewed surge of coronavirus cases in some areas.

Earlier this week, Turkey's top clubs resumed limited training sessions in accordance with measures set out by the TFF. Fenerbahce, Besiktas, and reigning champions Galatasaray all held sessions in small groups.

Trabzonspor, who were league leaders when matches were suspended, also returned to the pitch this week. Shares of all four clubs rose after the decision to resume the league.

Almost two months after reporting its first case, Turkey has said the outbreak has reached a plateau.

On Monday, it began to ease some measures to restart the economy, as the daily number of deaths and new cases continued a downward trajectory.

Turkey has reported more than 3,500 deaths from the coronavirus since the outbreak begun on March 11.

It has nearly 130,000 confirmed cases, the highest total outside Western Europe, the United States, and Russia.

Updated: May 6, 2020 07:35 PM

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