Aston Villa have offered to host the Champions League all-English final between Chelsea and Manchester City at Villa Park.
UK citizens can not yet travel internationally, which is why Aston Villa have approached the Football Association and UEFA to offer Villa Park as an alternative venue for the final, which is currently scheduled to take place at the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul on May 29, which makes it hard for UK fans to attend.
There are indications that some foreign travel will resume on May 17, but it is yet to be announced officially. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “We’ll be saying more as soon as we can” but “we have got to be very, very tough,” adding that even if the borders opened, the travellers would still need to be cautious. The government is expected to come out with travel plans for both Turkey and Poland, as the Europa League final between Manchester United and Villareal will be played in Gdansk.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Turkey reached its peak last week, causing the first total lockdown in this country. Despite that, UEFA has confirmed it’s still committed to hosting the Champions League final in Istanbul. The ticketing and travel details will be known in the next few days.
As this will be an all-English final of the Champions League, there is political pressure as well as pressure from health experts who believe it would be better to move the final to the UK and avoid the possible pandemic exposure of thousands of fans.
Changing the venue this close to the event could be challenging as all the broadcasters and journalists would have to change their travel plans. and so would the UEFA staff and officials. Another deciding factor might be that Villa Park doesn’t have the equipment to host such a big event, and it would have to be adapted.
Whatever the location, it’s certain that all the major betting sites will be paying close attention to this match.