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Sport MARTIN SAMUEL: See sense and move the Champions League final!

00:25  08 may  2021
00:25  08 may  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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MARTIN SAMUEL : UEFA must move the Champions League final to England NOW they talk of prioritising fans, but how does sticking with Istanbul do that? Manchester City and Chelsea will meet in the Champions League final . Game should be moved to the UK, so the greatest number of fans Istanbul had the final and there was no serious pushback against that — until Friday afternoon when Turkey was placed on the Government’s red list. Not for spite, or the purpose of political machination. Turkey went red because it has the worst rates of Covid in Europe and travel there should be limited

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Aleksander Čeferin wearing a suit and tie: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

We keep hearing these are extraordinary, exceptional times. So do something exceptional and extraordinary. Move the Champions League final to a country where the greatest number of fans can be admitted. Move it to England, move it now.

Not because two English clubs have got there. It would make most sense, but there are precedents.

This is the eighth final with teams from one country, and none of the others have been relocated, including AC Milan versus Juventus in Manchester in 2003 and Bayern Munich versus Borussia Dortmund at Wembley 10 years later.

a group of baseball players playing a football game: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

No, this is not about convenience. Istanbul had the final and there was no serious pushback against that — until Friday afternoon when Turkey was placed on the Government’s red list. Not for spite, or the purpose of political machination.

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MARTIN SAMUEL - CHIEF SPORTS WRITER - COMMENT: Mike Riley was busy briefing on Wednesday to explain a rule that just about everyone understood until referees got involved. New handball rule threw up huge controversy in Premier League last weekend. Why does football need several weeks of travesty before a compromise is found? Our officials have hidden behind a rigid implementation of the handball rules. MARTIN SAMUEL : New handball rule is a terrible mistake after weekend of chaos.

Turkey went red because it has the worst rates of Covid in Europe and travel there should be limited for the purpose of saving lives.

An influx of foreigners into Turkey and then their dispersion around the globe would be an act of utter recklessness. This Government does not want to bring that problem here.

Carlo Ancelotti et al. standing in front of a crowd: ( © Provided by Daily Mail ( a stadium full of people: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

UEFA should be equally mindful. It is not too late to make alternative arrangements. Mountains have been moved in the fight against Covid; only in sport could objections be made over fripperies such as stadium branding. This is about life and death, not marketing.

Wembley could not host the match — it is already booked for the play-offs — but other grounds here could. With restrictions on fan numbers, capacity would not be an issue. Villa Park is the midway point between the finalists, and their offer to host has been made, despite concerns about Uefa standards that apply to conventional finals.

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MARTIN SAMUEL : Champions League carve-up is in place simply to reward European elite for their failures they have already removed as much potential jeopardy as is possible from the competition. Since the Champions League has included a group stage, Real Madrid have never failed to progress once involved. If they are in it, they're going through: because in Europe everyone plays by the rules of the elite. As they will again, for while the creation of a closed-shop European Super League may be a hollow threat and more of a negotiating tool, the architects of Project Big Picture are clearing the

A spokesperson said: "The Uefa Champions League final will take place in Istanbul on 29 May with a limited number of spectators and we are assured the temporary lockdown which is in force until 17 May should not have any impact on the match. "Uefa continues to work closely with the Turkish Football Federation and the local and national authorities to stage the match safely." Chelsea fans celebrate outside Stamford Bridge after reaching the Champions League final .

It is not as if this country is short of good stadiums.

The FA could also play its part by proposing to stand aside for Istanbul in 2024, when Wembley is scheduled to hold the final.

Grant Shapps wearing a suit and tie: ( © Provided by Daily Mail (

UEFA talk of prioritising fans, but how does sticking with Istanbul do that? No English fans will be present if the cost is to quarantine at a hotel for 10 days on arrival back in Britain.

Few have the time or the money — and if they had, plainly the risk is great. And if not here, what of Gdansk, which will host the Europa League final three days earlier? Broadcast units are already in place, the stadium is set up for an event with limited attendance, and Poland is on the amber list, meaning some fans can at least travel.

As it stands, even the participants would have to quarantine in hotels on return from Istanbul. Players could be ruled out of the Euros as a result.

The FA are hopeful of a sporting exemption, yet why should footballers have to be made a special case, which further distances the game from its followers? Move the match. These are exceptional circumstances, exceptional times. Do the right thing, for once.

a large stadium with green grass: ( © Provided by Daily Mail ( Read more

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