UEFA is considering moving the venue for the Champions League final outside of Istanbul, after the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the planning and timing of the tournament.
The UEFA executive committee will meet on June 17 to review the findings of a task force that has evaluated how to complete the competitions that were suspended in March and which will most likely have to end without stadium fans.
The leading European soccer organization hopes to resume its top club competition in August, after the completion of the national soccer leagues, also disrupted.
The Champions League round of 16 is not yet over. The final of the contest was to take place today, May 30, at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul.
A person familiar with the planning said that UEFA had concluded that holding the match in Istanbul was not practical this year. One option would aim to carry out the remaining matches in a single city.
Travel restrictions persist in Europe. Turkey keeps the arrival of international flights prohibited.
The priority to assign a new venue to the matches would be the accessibility of the venue for players, referees and leaders, given that hardly any spectator could be allowed to enter the remaining matches of the “Champions”. This implies that the new venue for the final will be determined by logistical aspects in the midst of the pandemic and by the ability to implement the necessary hygiene measures, including conducting tests to identify carriers of the virus.
The main European league that has resumed its football season is the German one, a couple of weeks ago. This could give Germany more experience in taking measures to allow matches to be held.
The Europa League is also suspended and would involve travel, but a club confirmed plans to play the quarterfinals in one city. The Spanish team Getafe must still face Inter in the eighths.
“The idea of UEFA is to play from the Champions League and Europa League quarters in a venue and a single match, but there is nothing confirmed,” said Ángel Torres, president of Getafe, interviewed by the Spanish radio station Onda Cero. “They will decide on the 17th.”
UEFA reported that it is considering various options for its tournaments, but has not opted for any.
120 cases of coronavirus had Turkey as of yesterday, according to Johns Hopkins University.
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