The venue for the upcoming Champions League final meeting between Chelsea and Manchester City has been thrown into major doubt on Friday evening.
The return legs of the Champions League’s two semi-final ties were of course played out earlier this week.
First, Manchester City welcomed Paris Saint-Germain to the Etihad, aiming to build on a 2-1 advantage to book their spot in the club’s first ever showpiece occasion on Europe’s grandest stage.
And, when all was said and done, this is precisely what the Sky Blues managed, courtesy of a double from Riyad Mahrez.
Magnificent Mahrez! 🪄
A beautifully crafted counter-attacking move, and the Algerian winger is at the back post to clean up for his second goal of the night!
Man City are so close to Istanbul! 🙏 pic.twitter.com/8SRlUmCfBp
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 4, 2021
Then, 24 hours later, it was the turn of Chelsea and Real Madrid to do battle.
The hosts again boasted the edge ahead of the action getting underway at Stamford Bridge, after securing an important away goal in a 1-1 draw in Madrid.
And Thomas Tuchel’s men only went on to add to their advantage on Wednesday, notching through Timo Werner and Mason Mount to set up an all-English Champions League final.
The showpiece occasion, as is the norm, is scheduled to play out upon the completion of the domestic season, on the 29th of May.
As outlined above, however, on Friday evening, the matchup’s venue has been thrown into serious doubt.
This comes after the UK government confirmed that Turkey – home to the planned finale venue of the Atatürk Olympic Stadium – has been placed on the country’s ‘red list’ for travel:
Turkey, the Maldives and Nepal have been added to the UK’s travel “red list”, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announces
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) May 7, 2021
This means that any individuals who travel to Turkey will now be forced to see out a 10-day period of overseen mandatory quarantine, upon their return to the United Kingdom.
This, of course, poses a major issue for not only playing staff, but also fans of Chelsea and Manchester City, after both clubs were allocated a stadium attendance of 4,000.
In turn, it has come as little surprise to hear that crisis talks have already gotten underway.
UEFA, the FA and the UK government have opened discussions over a potential change of venue, with Istanbul, incredibly, now in danger of having the biggest occasion in European football ripped away from them at the last minute for the 2nd season running.
UPDATE: Been in contact with UEFA and there *might* now be a rethink on the Champions League final, after Turkey was placed in the red list.
UEFA to reflect on it but it may depend on the UK government’s decision on teams being allowed to travel, rather than fans.
— Dale Johnson (@DaleJohnsonESPN) May 7, 2021
Wembley is one potential venue which has been floated as an alternative to the Atatürk Olympic Stadium, though the Championship playoff final – also set to play out on the 29th of May – could throw a spanner in such plans.
The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium could therefore potentially get the nod.
This article was edited by Josh Barker.
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