Boris Johnson calls on Uefa to allow UK to host Champs League final – with St James', Tottenham and Emirates available
BORIS JOHNSON has urged Uefa: “Let us host the Champions League Final.”
Transport secretary Grant Shapps announced on Friday that Turkey will be added to the “red list” of countries requiring stricter border measures.
That would mean fans of both Chelsea and Manchester City facing 10 days of expensive hotel quarantine on their return from Istanbul.
And Johnson asked Uefa to consider an urgent rethink and switch the game from Covid-hit Turkey to the UK.
The PM told SunSport: “The Champions League is the pinnacle of European club football.
“And with two English teams contesting the final, it would be a great shame if fans were unable to attend.
“It would be brilliant to host the game here if we can. I want to help supporters of both clubs see their team in action.”
Johnson’s public intervention strengthened the chances of the game being moved after Uefa were blindsided by the dramatic development.
Euro chiefs have been assured that the UK Government will grant an exemption from the quarantine rules for the two squads if the May 29 game remains at the Ataturk.
That would be a huge relief for England boss Gareth Southgate, who otherwise faced the prospect of having Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, John Stones, Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell forced to stay under lock and key until four days before the Three Lions’ opener against Croatia.
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But the decision – alongside the offer from Downing Street – left Uefa actively considering a U-turn to ensure fans can get to the match.
While there are no issues entering Turkey, any Chelsea or Manchester City fans returning from Istanbul would be left facing bills of nearly £2,000 EACH before being allowed back home from the Final.
Shapps warned: “It does mean that fans should not travel to Turkey. The FA are in discussions with Uefa already on this.
“We are very open to hosting the Final but that’s ultimately a decision for Uefa.
“It’s worth mentioning we already have a successful track record of football matches with spectators and given that two English clubs are in that Final we look forward to hearing what Uefa have to say.”
Uefa was planning to allow up to 6,000 fans from each of the two clubs to travel to Istanbul for the game, which is now scheduled to have a crowd of 25,000.
But Turkey is in the grip of a new wave of the virus, forcing the clampdown on travellers coming into the UK from the country.
Ceferin publicly thanked Johnson as helping save football from the threat of the breakaway Super League last month.
The Government’s threat of a “legislative bombshell” helped persuade the Big Six rebels to heed the fan backlash and turn their backs on the £4.6bn project.
And Ceferin, who spoke directly with the PM, said: “Boris Johnson is aware that football fans are from the working class.
“They live hard, and they spend the last money to watch football matches, which is their passion, relaxation, which is part of European culture, part of history.
“It seemed to me the reaction was very logical – he cared what happened to football, because that would affect the people, of course.
“It was very responsible from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to take a sharp stand on the side of the fans, not only because of the culture and love of football, but also because it ensures order in the country.”
Johnson also contacted Uefa to offer up the UK as an option for staging extra matches at Euro 2020, although in the event there will be just one extra last 16 knock-out tie at Wembley.
The move would be warmly welcomed by fans of both Chelsea and City, facing a four hour flight both ways, the cost of hotels and match tickets and now that 10-day hotel quarantine.
Wembley is being used for the Play-Off Finals on the weekend of the Champions League showpiece.
But Uefa had been offered the use of St James’ Park for the Euros by the FA, with other options including the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium or The Emirates.
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