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Fans should not travel to Turkey for Champions League final, says UK government
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Istanbul last hosted the Champions League final in 2005, when Liverpool beat AC Milan
Istanbul last hosted the Champions League final in 2005, when Liverpool beat AC Milan

Chelsea and Manchester City fans should not travel to Turkey for the Champions League final, the UK government has said after adding the country to England’s travel red list.

The final is due to take place in Istanbul on 29 May.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said Covid-19 red list countries “should not be visited except in the most extreme circumstances”.

He added that the government was open to hosting the game in the UK.

Uefa had hoped to give both clubs a minimum of 4,000 tickets each for the game at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium.

Schapps said that the Football Association is in talks with Uefa about switching the game, but that it is “ultimately a decision for Uefa”.

“The UK has a successful track record of hosting matches with spectators so we are well placed to do it,” he said.

“So we are very open to it, but it is actually in the end a decision for Uefa to make. But given it is two English clubs in the final, we look forward to hearing what they have to say.”

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The BBC understands that the government will look at solutions for whatever circumstances arise around the final, including exploring travel exemptions for players and club staff.

UK citizens returning from red list countries are required to quarantine at a government-approved hotel for 10 days.

A quarantine could potentially have an impact on players involved in Euro 2020, which starts on 11 June.

If the final was to switch to the UK, Wembley Stadium, which is the most obvious venue, is already set to stage the Championship play-off final on 29 May.

It is understood the plan remains to go ahead with the play-off final at Wembley.

However, if asked to move by Uefa, it is understood the EFL would consider it and the board would make the final call.

Chelsea Supporters Trust says it will meet Uefa this week and will request that the final is moved to the UK, while Manchester City fan groups say they will be renewing their calls to move the game from Istanbul.

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