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Calls For Potential All English Champions League Final To Be Moved To England

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Calls For Potential All English Champions League Final To Be Moved To England

Health officials in England have called on the Champions League final to be moved to England, if Manchester City and Chelsea qualify for Europe's showpiece.

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Last season's final was meant to take place at the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul but UEFA moved the finals to a mini tournament in Portugal, with the final at the Estadio da Luz, due to Covid-19.

The Ataturk, which hosted Liverpool's famous comeback over AC Milan in the 2005 final, was instead awarded this season's final.

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Both City and Chelsea won the first legs of their semi-finals, against PSG and Real Madrid respectively, and the two sides would have to travel to Turkey if they qualify, with UEFA hoping fans will be able to go.

However health officials in this country are calling on the European football body to change the final location, if it's an all England final, in order to reduce the risk of spreading Covid around the continent.

"It's crazy and unnecessary to have the game in Turkey," Professor Keith Neal, expert in public health at the University of Nottingham, told the Daily Mail.

"I think there is going to be serious problems. Turkey is a Covid hot zone and it is likely to remain so in May. You cannot see it being better in five weeks.

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The Ataturk played host to one of the most memorable Champions League finals ever. Image: PA Images
The Ataturk played host to one of the most memorable Champions League finals ever. Image: PA Images

"And the disease rate in Istanbul itself, like all major population centres, will be higher. UEFA have not realised they have a problem.

"People will be travelling in crowded planes, passing through crowded airports and spending time in bars and restaurants. It is too risky.

"I would move the game. Move it to England where you can manage it better. You could move it to England for the two English teams."

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UEFA are yet to confirm how many fans will be inside the stadium on 29th May, where City or PSG will have the chance to become European champions for the first time, but reports claim it will be 9,000 fans.

City players celebrate Riyad Mahrez's late winner. Image: PA Images
City players celebrate Riyad Mahrez's late winner. Image: PA Images

However another health expert explained it's not fans inside the arena who cause an issue as such. "The issue is not the stadium it is the travel and what people are doing when they are there," Professor Paul Hunter, Professor in Medicine at the University of Norwich, told the Mail.

"...I do not think it is a wise thing to do. From a public health perspective this is not a good idea at this time.

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"Globally, there are more infections than ever and there are potentially new variants around."

Christian Pulisic's goal vs Real Madrid has given the Blues an away goal. Image: PA Images
Christian Pulisic's goal vs Real Madrid has given the Blues an away goal. Image: PA Images

There could be a similar issue with the Europa League being an all English final, with Arsenal and Manchester United playing their first legs on Thursday, but there are less worries.

That final is due to be held in Gdansk, Poland, and the Covid rates in Poland are far lower than the ones in Turkey.

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Holidays abroad from the UK are still illegal due to Covid, although those rules are set to be lifted on May 17th.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Manchester City, Chelsea, Football, Ligue 1, PSG, Premier League, Champions League, Real Madrid, La Liga

Ryan Sidle
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