It is reported that the all-English Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea will be held in Portugal for the second year in a row.
The negotiations took place at Wembley Stadium in London in order to realize the main game of European football. But that proved impractical, and Estádio do Dragão, home of FC Porto, has the right to housing.
UEFA was unable to guarantee the quarantine exemptions required to allow media and guests to travel to the UK capital.
Portuguese authorities agreed, Wednesday, to return fans to the finals of the tournament, on May 19, to allow stadiums up to 10% capacity.
Turkey is on the red list
UEFA’s hopes of playing the game in Istanbul were dashed when Turkey was included in the United Kingdom’s “Red List” of countries where the Coronavirus has a serious outbreak.
The British government’s decision, just two days after the semi-finals ended, made it impossible for fans to travel from England to Turkey. The UK government immediately opened negotiations with UEFA regarding the possibility of transferring the final to England on 29 May.
Last season’s UEFA Champions League Final was played in Portugal as well due to COVID-19
But discussions between UEFA and Britain were not resolved on Monday. Contest organizers wanted media, sponsors and guests to be able to fly without quarantine, people familiar with the talks told the Associated Press.
Portugal is on the “green list” in England with 12 low-risk areas, as people will no longer need to be quarantined upon their return next Monday, making it easier for thousands of City and Chelsea fans to travel. Portugal will have to lift the current blockade of tourists from the United Kingdom.
Impact in Istanbul
UEFA’s plans to move the Istanbul final to another European city did not come as a surprise to Turkey, as UEFA also postponed the final last year, when the Turkish capital was also set to host the event.
However, discussions in the Turkish public and in the media have focused mainly on statements by Nihad Ozdemir, President of the Turkish Football Association (TFF). “They will come to play the last match like pregnancy,” Ozdemir told a Turkish newspaper last week, noting that UEFA would eventually give up the first deal.
But the UEFA decision embarrassed Ozdemir, who had already come under fire at home over a series of controversial decisions the referee had made in the past few weeks of the Turkish Premier League.
Istanbul’s Ataturk Stadium was due to host the final in 2022, after the last two matches could not be played due to Covid-19.
Erdogan is under the age of four
Before the decision became official, the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized the opposition’s potential move. Turkey’s main opposition party, the CHP, accused the government of failing to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and caused Turkey to lose the opportunity to promote the country by hosting the largest global soccer event.
The move could also send an unwanted message to potential tourists who are seeing Turkey as a vacation destination this summer, especially if the UK is one of the country’s biggest sources of foreign visitors. This could help undermine Turkey’s efforts to revitalize tourism, which is an important economic sector in the country.
The impact of the epidemic on tourism revenues in Turkey, which fell by two-thirds to 12 billion dollars (9.89 billion euros) last year.
km, co, pfd / jt / mds, (AP, Reuters)
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