Because Turkey joined England’s travel red list on Friday, the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust wants the Champions League final moved from Istanbul.
The Blues’ clash with Manchester City in the Champions League final. Chelsea beat Real Madrid on 3-1 aggregate, and City won a 4-1 aggregate over PSG in the semi-finals.
And these two English finalists will meet in Istanbul, despite new restrictions from the British government.
But, precisely because of these restrictions, the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust has requested that UEFA move the upcoming Champions League final.
Unfortunately, Turkey made it to England’s travel red list on Friday. And the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust tweeted about it.
— Chelsea Supporters’ Trust (@ChelseaSTrust) May 7, 2021
The Overdue Hosts
Istanbul were going to host last season’s Champions League final. However, the coronavirus pandemic forced a rescheduling of the tournament.
Portugal hosted the closing rounds of the 2019-20 tournament, when it re-commenced, instead.
And UEFA then promised Istanbul, who haven’t hosted a Champions League final since 2005, that they’d host the 2020-21 final. Back then, Liverpool famously triumphed over AC Milan.
But, to problematize this plan, transport secretary Grant Shapps has said that countries on England’s red list “should not be visited except in the most extreme circumstances”.
Alternately, Shapps has also informed that the government is open to staging the game in the UK.
So, the two English finalists may play the final much like the Premier League battle that they will wage today.
An English pitch would be safe for both teams and it would also allow sustain supporters in the stands more safely.
They won’t have to travel internationally and instead watch their team compete in the final in their own country.
Shapps added that the Football Association has held talks with UEFA about switching the game.
“The UK has a successful track record of hosting matches with spectators so we are well placed to do it,” he said.
However, the final decision is in the federation’s hands: “So, we are very open to it, but it is actually in the end a decision for UEFA to make. But given it is two English clubs in the final, we look forward to hearing what they have to say.”