BORIS JOHNSON urged Uefa to switch the Champions League final to the UK – for the sake of the fans.
Turkey will be on the UK’s Covid ‘red list’, so Chelsea and Manchester City supporters face ten days’ costly hotel quarantine on return from Istanbul after the May 29 spectacle.
Boris Johnson is desperate for the UK to host the Champions League final on May 29Credit: Reuters
And PM Johnson told SunSport: “The Champions League is the pinnacle of European club football.
“And with two English teams in the final, it would be a great shame if fans were unable to attend.
“It would be brilliant to host it here if we can. I want to help supporters of both clubs see their team in action.”
Johnson’s intervention strengthened hopes of the game being moved after Uefa were blindsided by the red-list decision and left considering a U-turn.
If the game was played over here up to 15,000 fans could attend.
The UK Government will grant clubs a quarantine exemption should the final remain at the Ataturk.
That is a relief for England boss Gareth Southgate, who otherwise faced losing Phil Foden, Raheem Sterling, John Stones, Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell until four days before the June 13 opener against Croatia.
There is no issue entering Turkey but English fans coming back would have to fork out nearly £2,000 EACH before being allowed back home.
Chelsea advanced to the final after beating Real Madrid 3-1 on aggregate over two legsCredit: AFP
Manchester City proved to be too good for Paris Saint-Germain as they beat the French side home and awayCredit: EPA
And Transport Secretary Grant Shapps warned: “It does mean fans should not travel to Turkey. The FA are in discussions with Uefa already.
“We are very open to hosting the final but that’s ultimately for Uefa.
“We already have a successful record of matches with spectators and given two English clubs are in that final we look forward to hearing what Uefa say.”
Uefa were planning to allow up to 6,000 fans from each club at the game, now scheduled to have a crowd of 25,000.
But Turkey is in the grip of a new Covid wave of the virus.
Uefa chief Aleksander Ceferin has thanked Johnson for helping save football from the threat of the breakaway Super League last month.
Government legal threats helped persuade Big Six rebels to heed the fan backlash and quit the £4.6billion project.
Ceferin said: “Boris Johnson is aware football fans are working class. The reaction was very logical — he cared what happened to football, because that would affect the people, of course.
Just seven players have managed to score a hat-tricks of CL hat-tricks
The Government’s threat of a “legislative bombshell” helped persuade the Big Six rebels to heed the fan backlash and turn their backs on the £4.6bn project.
And Ceferin, who spoke directly with the PM, said: “Boris Johnson is aware that football fans are from the working class.
“They live hard, and they spend the last money to watch football matches, which is their passion, relaxation, which is part of European culture, part of history.
“It seemed to me the reaction was very logical – he cared what happened to football, because that would affect the people, of course.
“It was very responsible from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to take a sharp stand on the side of the fans, not only because of the culture and love of football, but also because it ensures order in the country.”
Johnson also contacted Uefa to offer up the UK as an option for staging extra matches at Euro 2020, although in the event there will be just one extra last 16 knock-out tie at Wembley.
The Emirates is one possible destination where the Champions League final could take placeCredit: Getty
“It was very responsible from the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to take a sharp stand on the side of the fans.”
Johnson also offered up the UK as an option for staging extra Euros games but there will be just one extra last-16 Wembley tie.
Any CL final move would be welcomed by Chelsea and City fans, who are facing a four-hour flight each way, costs of hotels and match tickets — and now that quarantine.
Wembley is being used for the Play-Off Finals on the weekend of the Champions League showpiece.
But Uefa had been offered the use of St James’ Park for the Euros by the FA, with other options including the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium or The Emirates.
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.