Champions League final venue drama

Istanbul could lose its hosting rights for the 2020 UEFA Champions League final as Turkey recorded 15191 Covid-19 cases as of 9th May.

The UK government last Friday put Turkey on its travel red-list. The government insists that all passengers coming in from Turkey must undergo a mandatory ten-day quarantine at the designated airport hotels.

Based on this, the two English finalist players and staff will have to stay in quarantine till ninth June if they arrive in the UK on thirtieth May from Istanbul.

If this happens, England’s preparation for the upcoming Euros beginning on 11th June would be affected. As a result, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pressed for a change of place, and the English Football Association is in negotiations with UEFA about the matter. London and Lisbon are the chosen locations.

Even though Wembley Stadium appears to be the most appropriate location, it is unlikely due to the UK’s strict quarantine regulations. Owing to the mandatory ten-day quarantine, it will be difficult for UEFA officials, personnel, media, and fans from all over Europe to make it to the final on time.

The Estadio do Dragao of FC Porto could be a possible venue. However, sources say the stadium’s TV compound is not large enough to handle the demand for a Champions League final. The city also has inadequate hotel accommodations.

Turkey has a long and illustrious football tradition, which includes ‘The Miracle of Istanbul.’ The Ataturk Olympic Stadium, which has not hosted a Champions League final since 2005, was chosen to host the final in May 2018.

The Turkish FA are hell-bent on making the final happen despite the calls for a venue change. They insist that they are ready and capable of hosting the final, especially after they lost their hosting rights last year to SL Benfica’s Estadio da Luz due to the same reason as they are about to lose this year.

Should the change happen, Istanbul will host the 2021-2022 Champions League final and The Krevstovsky Stadium in St. Petersburg, which Russia was to host. 2022 competition will have to wait till 2022-2023 season.