We’re less than three weeks away from the Champions League final, and it appears that we might be changing venues after all. Combined with the UK government’s red-listing of Turkey (essentially a travel ban) and Turkey’s own coronavirus surge and associated lockdown (currently set to end on May 17), UEFA are in fact considering a change of location for the final, as first reported by Tariq Panja of the New York Times and since picked up by just about everybody — the latest of which reports are pretty much considering this a done deal, though that’s unlikely to be the case just yet.
UEFA are however expected to make a decision within the next 48 hours or so, as they look to stage the final somewhere where they can have 20-25k fans attend and where fans, players, and UEFA’s VIPs can travel without subsequent quarantines. That latter requirement would need buy-in from the UK government to temporarily lift certain restrictions on foreign travelers.
The British government must waive stringent entry requirements for travellers into the country, including quarantine rules. Also has to guarantee similar fan numbers to Istanbul, which was around 25,000.— tariq panja (@tariqpanja) May 9, 2021
The two options on the table are apparently Wembley or some place in Portugal like last year, with Porto the leading candidate there — presumably the Estádio do Dragão, where ironically we coudn’t play a couple months ago when facing FC Porto in the knockout rounds (and instead had to play in Seville). While Wembley, where Chelsea beat Manchester City just the other week in the FA Cup semifinal, is set to host the Championship playoff final on the same day, May 29, it sounds like that could easily be moved to accommodate the European showpiece instead.
Should the final move, Istanbul will have seen it taken away from them for the second year running. That said, obviously we’d prefer to have it at our home away from home, Wembley.