Uefa mulling Champions League tweaks with Istanbul set to lose final
The Uefa Champions League final, the showpiece match of the European club soccer season, looks set to be moved away from Istanbul because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to reports.
The final should have been played in the Turkish city on Saturday, but with quarantine issues in certain countries and Uefa keen to minimise unnecessary air travel, it seems increasingly unlikely that Istanbul will host this year's final, which is now slated for late August, the New York Times reported.
Uefa has set up a working group to discuss the best ways to complete the Champions League and secondary Europa League, with the final of the latter having been slated for Gdansk, Poland.
At present, the plan is to complete all remaining fixtures in August once the domestic leagues are finished, but Uefa cannot put in place a definite timetable until it knows for sure what all member federations are doing. Clarity is expected after the next Uefa executive committee meeting on 17 June.
The likelihood is that all remaining Champions League games will be played in the city of the final, and reports in Spain suggest Lisbon in Portugal is in line for that role.
With only teams from Spain, England, France, Germany and Italy remaining in the competition, a western European city makes sense from a travel perspective.
A Uefa statement read: "A working group has been set up with the participation of representatives from the leagues and clubs to examine calendar solutions and format options that would allow for the completion of the current season. A variety of options are being looked at and no decisions have been made at this stage."