What was a sigh turns into smoke. And we already know, where there is smoke, there is fire. The Champions League final is set to move from Istanbul, Turkey, to England. Wembley would be a remote possibility, due to dates conflicting. Villa Park, in Birmingham, is the preferred stadium at the moment. Good stadiums are spread in the UK.
Reason? There are two English teams in the final, England are doing well in vaccinations and can have an audience in the match. In Istanbul, there will also be an audience. There are 4 thousand unique tickets for each club. But in a small detail: the English cannot travel to Turkey. Aviation restrictions due to the pandemic remain in place and tightened on Friday.
I discussed this topic with Jamil Chad, a UOL columnist, in Futebol Sem Fronteiras’s Podcast launch video. Starting next week, UOL will release the international football podcast. Watch the video below, in which Jamil brings the news of a possible shift from Istanbul to England – the day before the rumors were almost certain.
Istanbul would have hosted the final last year, but UEFA chose to end the tournament in the bubble created in Lisbon, with unique quarter-final and semi-final matches, before the decision in Luz. Now, a new postponement will be made.
It is logical that the Turks are not happy. But it is reasonable to think that Istanbul will again pledge to host the next Final in 2022. And perhaps with the flights already completed, there is potential for a full-fledged stadium and a rotating economy.
For Istanbul, frustration aside, hosting the 2022 Final makes more sense than it did on May 29. Just like the final in London or any other English city, it makes more sense now, with fans of both teams able to attend and without international travel.