Champions League: UEFA and UK government to hold talks over moving venue for final to London

The Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul is due to host the Champions League final on May 29 but pressure is mounting for the venue to be changed after the UK government urged fans not to travel for the fixture later this month and placed Turkey on its 'red' list of at-risk countries

The Champions League final was last staged at Wembley back in 2013
Image: The Champions League final was last staged in England at Wembley in 2013

UEFA will hold talks with the UK government on Monday about moving the Champions League final from Istanbul to London.

Wembley will be the most likely venue for the final if the fixture between Chelsea and Manchester City is moved to England.

A decision is expected to be made by Tuesday on whether the match will take place at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul as originally planned or at a different location.

Restrictions on foreign travel are set to be relaxed on May 17, but Turkey was added to the UK government's list of 'red' countries this week.

Image: The government are in talks with UEFA over staging the Champions League final at Wembley

UK citizens returning from red list countries are required to quarantine at a government-approved hotel for 10 days.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps has told fans not to travel to Turkey and confirmed the Football Association (FA) had approached UEFA over the prospect of moving the match to the UK in light of the ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

He told a government press conference on Friday: "I'm afraid we are having to put Turkey on the red list. This will have a number of ramifications. First of all, it does mean with regards to the Champions League, fans should not travel to Turkey.

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Transport secretary Grant Shapps says fans should not travel to Turkey after it was added to the UK's red list for travel, and that 'we are open to hosting the final' of the Champions League

"The FA are in discussions with UEFA on this. We are very open to hosting the final but it is ultimately a decision for UEFA.

"Of course, the UK has already got a successful track record of football matches with spectators, so we are well placed to do it.

"We are very open to it but it is in the end a decision for UEFA to make, but given there are two English clubs in that final, we look forward to what they have to say."

It is understood the three English Football League play-off finals could be rearranged to allow the all-English Champions League final to be staged at Wembley.

The stadium is due to host the Championship play-off final on May 29 - the same day as the Champions League final - with the League One and League Two equivalents arranged for the following two days.

It is understood the EFL would consider all options - including altering the arrangements for those fixtures to accommodate the Champions League final - should they be contacted by UEFA.

That could mean the matches being played on different dates, or at alternative venues.

Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng celebrates winning the 2013 Champions League final at Wembley
Image: Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng celebrates winning the 2013 Champions League final at Wembley

Wembley was last the Champions League final venue when Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund in 2013 and it staged the fixture two years prior to that for Barcelona's 3-1 win over Manchester United in 2011.

It also hosted Tottenham's home fixtures in the competition when the national stadium was Spurs' temporary home ground from 2017 to 2019.

The national stadium is already due to host eight Euro 2020 games this summer including both semi-finals and the final on July 11.

Villa Park has been offered to UEFA to host this year's showpiece but it would take an immense logistical effort for the fixture to be played there as it is not currently equipped to UEFA standards for such a large match.

The Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul will host this year's Champions League final on May 29
Image: The Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul is due to host this year's Champions League final but the venue could yet be changed amid Turkey's coronavirus restrictions

Sky Sports News can confirm UEFA hopes to secure at least 4,000 tickets for supporters of each of the Champions League finalists.

Wins over Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain respectively saw Chelsea and Manchester City progress to the final, which will be the second all-English final tie in the last three seasons.

Meanwhile, Manchester United and Villarreal will play each other in Gdansk, Poland on May 26, with 9,500 fans expected to attend the Europa League final at the city's Energa Stadium.

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