What was there is turning into smoke. And we already know, where there is smoke, there is fire. The European Champions League final is expected to be moved from Istanbul, Turkey to England. Wembley would be a remote possibility due to the conflicting dates. Birmingham’s Villa Park is the stadium of choice for now. Good stadiums abound in the UK.
The Reason? There are two English teams in the final, England is far ahead in terms of vaccination and can participate in the match publicly. There will also be spectators in Istanbul. For each club 4 thousand tickets are highlighted. But one small detail: the British cannot travel to Turkey. Flight restrictions are still in place due to the pandemic and were reimposed this Friday.
This topic was discussed by me with UOL columnist Jamil Chad in our launch video for the Futebol Sem Fronteiras Podcast. UOL will launch its international football podcast from next week. Watch the video below, in which Jameel brings the news about a possible move from Istanbul to England – the day the rumor became almost certain.
Istanbul will host the final last year, but UEFA decided to end the tournament in a bubble created in Lisbon, with unique matches in the quarter-finals and semi-finals, before the decision in Luz. Now, there will be another postponement.
Of course the Turks are not happy. But it is plausible to think that Istanbul will once again promise to host the next final in 2022. And perhaps with free travel already in place, a full stadium and economy are likely to take a turn.
For Istanbul, disappointment aside, it is clear that it makes more sense to host the 2022 final than on 29 May. Just as now it makes more sense to have the final in London or any other English city, with fans from both teams likely to be present and without international travel.