British Govt. red-list Turkey...


British Govt. red-list Turkey as Istanbul loosens grip on CL final

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Istanbul's status as Champions League final host has been wounded by the British government. 

Turkey has been placed on the British government's 'red' travel list, meaning travellers returning from the country would have to isolate in a government-approved hotel for ten days.

Chelsea are scheduled to face Manchester City at Istanbul's Ataturk Stadium on May 29, but there had been calls to relocate the final even before Grant Schapps' Friday announcement.

Fans groups from both clubs have spoken against the staging of an all-Premier League final in Turkey, even with a limited number of fans allowed to attend.

Earlier this week, Birmingham's Villa Park reportedly put itself forward as an English solution to the travel problem. Aston Villa's stadium hosted the last ever Cup Winners' Cup final in 1999 when Lazio beat Real Mallorca 2-1.

"I'm afraid we are having to put Turkey on the red list," Schapps said, "This will have a number of ramifications. First of all, it does mean with the regards to the Champions League, fans should not travel to Turkey.

"The FA are in discussions with UEFA on this. We are very open to hosting the final but it is ultimately a decision for UEFA.

"Of course the UK has already got a successful track record of football matches with spectators, so we are well placed to do it.

"We are very open to it but it is in the end a decision for UEFA to make, but given there are two English clubs in that final, we look forward to what they have to say."

There have been two previous all-English Champions League finals, neither of which were played on English soil. Two years ago Liverpool beat Tottenham in Madrid. While Manchester United triumphed over Chelsea in the Moscow rain in 2008.

UEFA had earlier insisted the final was not for moving, saying, "The UEFA Champions League final will take place in Istanbul on May 29 with a limited number of spectators and we are assured the temporary lockdown which is in force until May 17 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."

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Ataturk Stadium Champions League Chelsea Grant Schapps Istanbul Manchester City UEFA UEFA Champions League Villa Park

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