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london calling Schedule switch that could ensure this month's Champions League final is played at Wembley


Wembley Stadium (Yui Mok/PA)

Wembley Stadium (Yui Mok/PA)

Wembley Stadium (Yui Mok/PA)

UEFA are in talks with the English FA and the UK government over switching this year's Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City to Wembley Stadium and it appears that is now the likely outcome.

While Turkish FA chiefs have expressed disappointment that the prestigious game could be moved from Istanbul, the UK's decision to add Turkey to their red list of travel zones last week ensured fans of Chelsea and City would not be able to attend the game.

With Turkey currently in lockdown and one of the biggest hot-spots for Covid-19 infections in Europe, the prospect of playing a game of this magnitude with only a limited crowd and no fans of either competing team will not appeal to UEFA chiefs.

Only last month, Dublin lost the right to stage Euro 2020 games this summer as the Irish government could not guarantee UEFA that fans would be able to attend games at the Aviva Stadium.

So the notion that European football's governing body would allow their most prestigious club fixture to proceed in a country that is struggling to contain the pandemic seems unrealistic.

With Wembley Stadium due to host the 2024 Champions League final, the simple solution could be to award Turkey the game for that season and move this year's final to London.

Alternatively, there have been suggestions that Istanbul could host the 2023 Champions League final, in a year that will see the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey.

What seems clear is that UEFA are now actively considering switching the Chelsea v City game on May 29th to Wembley, with the UK government set to allow a sizeable crowd into Wembley to secure the deal to host the game.

Fans will return to Premier League stadiums next Monday, with the final two rounds of matches in this season set to have crowds of 10,000 in attendance.

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