UEFA has reportedly been in talks to stage the Champions League final 2,500 miles from Istanbul with less than a month to go.
And next week there will be the second legs, which will determine who will fight for the Champions League trophy in the final at the Ataturk Stadium on June 10th.
However, the Daily Mail has now claimed that Uefa were “in talks about moving” the showpiece to Lisbon’s Stadium of Light in Portugal.
This is in case there is “rioting in Istanbul following the Turkish presidential election” later this month.
There are growing concerns that civil unrest could erupt when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s two-decade rule ends.
Uefa ‘would be extremely reluctant to move the final’ as it has already been moved from Istanbul in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid.
However, at the biggest club football game in the world, they “could possibly be forced to consider a late change as fan safety is their main concern”.
The report said they “have learned that an informal approach has been made to the Portuguese Football Federation, who previously stepped in when Lisbon and Porto hosted the 2020 and 2021 finals” to host the final this season.
Erdogan was five percent behind his rival Kemal Kilicdaroglu in a recent poll before the first ballot on Sunday.
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Now analysts have claimed that the three-way race for leadership could now lead to a “runoff between the two” which would take place on May 28.
The Champions League final is scheduled to take place less than two weeks later.
And that means Uefa could be forced into a late decision.
However, the email also said that “sources at the governing body insisted on Thursday there was no plan to move the game out of Turkey”.
If the game is postponed, it would be the third year in a row that such a decision has been made.
in 2021, Uefa has moved the final between Chelsea and Man City from Istanbul to Porto After putting Turkey on its Red List, the British government required a 10-day hotel quarantine stay for all travelers returning from the country.
This decision was made so late that the “Istanbul 2021” was still written on the ball for the final. on it.
And in 2022 was the finale moved from St. Petersburg to Paris due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.