Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium was scheduled to host this year’s Champions League final, but it is understood that UEFA are ready to move the event due to fears over the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
The final of the competition was initially scheduled to be held this Saturday, but all football was postponed before the round of 16 could be completed, so there is still a lot of matches left to be played before we get anywhere near to the final.
The New York Times report that UEFA are working tirelessly to find a way to finish the competition, and they are prepared to move the final away from Istanbul and give it to another city, potentially one which could host all the remaining fixtures.
A major issue with completing the Champions League is the fact that teams from across Europe are usually required to fly around the continent to compete in matches, but that’s obviously not the most ideal scenario these days.
Liverpool’s clash with Atlético Madrid in the round of 16 was widely condemned for allowing Spanish fans to travel over to Anfield at a time when Spain was one of the worst-hit countries, and it appears as though UEFA are determined to avoid a repeat.
European travel is limited and countries all have differing quarantine regulations going on, so UEFA hope to find a host city which could host all the remaining fixtures and keep teams in one area, rather than across several different countries.
Lisbon has been touted as a potential option, but a source close to the situation is said to have confirmed that plenty of other cities are in the mix as well.
“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,” said a UEFA spokesman. “A variety of options is being looked at and no decisions have been made at this stage.”
A similar decision will be taken about the Europa League final, which was scheduled to be held in Gdansk, Poland, when officials meet to discuss the matter on 17 June.
For more from ?Tom Gott, follow him on ?Twitter!