Boris Johnson urged Uefa to switch the Champions League final to the UK – for the sake of the fans.
Turkey will be on the UK’s Covid ‘red list’, so Chelsea and Manchester City supporters
face ten days’ costly hotel quarantine on return from Istanbul after the May 29 spectacle.
And PM Johnson told SunSport: “The Champions League is the pinnacle of European club football.
“And with two English teams in the final, it would be a great shame if fans were
unable to attend.
“It would be brilliant to host it here if we can. I want to help supporters of both clubs
see their team in action.”
Johnson’s intervention strengthened hopes of the game being moved after Uefa
were blindsided by the red-list decision and left considering a U-turn.
If the game was played over here up to 15,000 fans could attend.
The UK Government will grant clubs a quarantine exemption should the final
remain at the Ataturk.
That is a relief for England boss Gareth Southgate, who otherwise faced losing
Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, John Stones, Mason Mount, and Ben Chilwell until
four days before the June 13 opener against Croatia.
There is no issue entering Turkey but English fans coming back would have to fork
out nearly £2,000 EACH before being allowed back home.
And Transport Secretary Grant Shapps warned: “It does mean fans should not travel
to Turkey. The FA is in discussions with Uefa already.
“We are very open to hosting the final but that’s ultimately for Uefa.
“We already have a successful record of matches with spectators and given two
English clubs are in that final we look forward to hearing what Uefa says.”
Uefa was planning to allow up to 6,000 fans from each club at the game, now
scheduled to have a crowd of 25,000.
But Turkey is in the grip of a new Covid wave of the virus.
Uefa chief Aleksander Ceferin has thanked Johnson for helping save football from
the threat of the breakaway Super League last month.
Government legal threats helped persuade Big Six rebels to heed the fan backlash
and quit the £4.6billion project.
Ceferin said: “Boris Johnson is aware football fans are working class. The reaction was
very logical — he cared what happened to football because that would affect the people,
The Government’s threat of a “legislative bombshell” helped persuade the Big Six rebels to heed the fan backlash and turn their backs on the £4.6bn projects.
And Ceferin, who spoke directly with the PM, said: “Boris Johnson is aware that football fans are from the working class.
“They live hard, and they spend the last money to watch football matches, which is
their passion, relaxation, which is part of European culture, part of history.
“It seemed to me the reaction was very logical – he cared what happened to football, because that would affect the people, of course.
“It was very responsive from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to take a sharp stand on the side of the fans, not only because of the culture and love of football but also because it ensures order in the country.”