UEFA insists Champions League final will be held Istanbul hosting despite lockdown


The Champions League final will be held in Istanbul on May 29 as planned despite a coronavirus surge in Turkey which has led to the country announcing a third lockdown, UEFA told AFP on Friday.

European football’s governing body insisted that the continent’s showpiece match would stay in the Turkish city following claims from broadcaster RMC, which shows the Champions League in France, and British tabloid the Daily Mail that a venue change was being considered.

UEFA told AFP that it had been assured that the lockdown, which began on Thursday and is set to run until May 17, “should not have any impact on the match”, which will take place at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium with a “limited number of spectators”.

UEFA added that it “will continue to work closely with the Turkish Football Federation and the local and national authorities to stage the match safely”.

Turkey had seen daily Covid-19 death tolls rise to around 350, higher than during two previous spikes last year.

The nation of 84 million reported 37,312 new infections on Monday, which were the highest in Europe but still down from the peak of nearly 60,000 earlier this month.

Last year’s final was scheduled to played at the Ataturk Stadium but the pandemic forced UEFA to organise instead a “Final 8” tournament in Lisbon in August.


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